Miranda’s March Reflection
You may have noticed that Hot Cross Buns appeared in the shops at about the same time as left-over Christmas products were being sold for knock-down prices. It’s almost as though the whole season of Lent has been conflated into Christmas – a celebration which has already expanded into Advent and back to Harvest Festival! Still, we should celebrate the fact that we have symbols of Good Friday on the shelves of most food-stores – who knows what question they might inspire.
Questions about the Cross have resounded down the centuries. What it means and why it happened are amongst the most challenging questions that Christians face, and there are no easy answers. In a sense, though, it’s not about what it means but how we are emotionally and spiritually moved by the depth of God’s love for us, depths expressed through the events of Good Friday, and Christ’s death on the Cross. Somehow the Cross frees us from sin, draws us back to God, and set us free to live at one with God, and with each other.
Find time to reflect on the Cross and the love of God this Lent – do join us at the reflective services which will be held in All Saints throughout Lent.
Churches Together Lenten Meditations 2017
All Saints Earls Barton
Join us on Wednesdays at 7pm
8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th March & 5th April
Miranda’s February Reflection
Ordinary Time: a relatively modern expression, denoting the periods of the liturgical church year which lie outside principal seasons. There are two of these: one which lies between Epiphany and Lent, and a considerably longer period between the season of Pentecost and Advent.
With the Season of Epiphany ending at Candlemas – this year celebrated on Sunday, 29th January – and the Season of Lent beginning on Ash Wednesday, 1st March – the whole of February 2017 is designated as “ordinary time”. This gives us an opportunity to look back over the festive season of Christmas and Epiphany, to continue to celebrate Emmanuel “God with us”, but also to remind ourselves of the cost to Christ of his life here on earth. We look towards Lent and Holy Week – the long journey to conflict and death: suffering undertaken by Christ on our behalf, that we might see and comprehend something of the infinite depth of God’s love.
Christmas and Lent can’t be separated one from another – they speak of the same child of Mary, the same unchanging, faithful presence, the same eternal and unfailing love. They are, if you like, two sides of the same coin, yet it’s a coin we often put away after Christmas, and only bring it out again when birth is imminent once more, and death a distant memory.
We may feel we have enough to deal with without adding to our troubles by considering the death of a good man. After all, it’s easy to connect with a new born child, to experience the sense of joy, of new life; not so easy, perhaps, to connect with the rocky, demanding road that led Jesus to the cross. Yet both of these stories are our stories, too. We have new life in Christ, but we are reborn and reshaped only by the events of the first Easter – and then, like the new-born Christmas child, our lives are full of potential, of possibility, of choice.
As we look back to Christmas, dare we look forward to Lent? Dare we look at ourselves and see the possibilities that lie within? Dare we allow ourselves to be unmade and reshaped by our journey through Lent? God has faith in us, let us have faith in him.
So, choose the path of Christ, the path of new life and new beginnings.
Miranda’s December Reflection
2016 has been a year of huge upheavals – around the world and here in the UK. The EU Referendum result continues to reverberate around the country, and the consequences remain unclear and unpredictable. The long US Presidential election process has enthralled and horrified in almost equal amount, as the candidates slug it out in what many would see as a deeply inappropriate fashion.
The No vote was certainly a surprise to many, but I can’t help feeling that the election of Donald Trump is even more of a surprise to even more people. Both could be said to have arisen out of a deep-seated dissatisfaction with the status-quo, and demonstrate our disunity and lack of clear purpose. For all too many reasons there is a sense of us and them, of division rather than unity.
How blessed we are by our unity in Christ. As we travel through advent and prepare for Christmas, it is worth reminding ourselves that God chose to draw all people to himself – not just some – and not through power and majesty, but weakness and vulnerability. Each one of us, whatever our background or beliefs, is a child of God; each invited to share in the joy of Christ’s birth, to be reminded that in him we find love, life and purpose as his disciples.
We may be thrown into uncertainty and confusion by the results of a referendum and an election, but we can be sure of one thing: the uncertainties of this life are as nothing compared to the certainty of God’s love for us.
May you and all your families and friends have a blessed and peaceful Christmas – but remember that Christ – although he is indeed the reason for the season – is not just with us for Christmas, but for eternity. His relationship with us is the pattern for all our relationships – a relationship of faithful, compassionate self-giving love.