Adrian Chatfield on ‘Making good use of the season of Lent’

img_2566Adrian Chatfield writes: The development of Lent is something of a mystery, and scholars are divided on its origins. We know, however, what we have now: a 40 day period of fasting, reflection and preparation for the celebration of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. So let’s think of Lent as a series of spiritual exercises which help us to grow as fit, faithful, disciples, grouped around several themes.

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How are you observing Lent this year?

Etheldreda cross Traditionally in the week or so before Lent actually begins Christians confessed their sins and discerned with their confessors what would be fruitful Lenten penances.  We may not want to talk about penance these days; Lenten discipline or Lenten practice might be better phrases.  But whatever we call it, the point of said penance or discipline or practice is not that it makes us more worthy of God’s attention or love but that it makes us more receptive to the Spirit of God, more open to glimpses of God’s glory.  It moves us from being the subject of our own lives, to active receptivity of and mutuality with the light and glory and love of God.  So we do not seek a glory that comes from our own achievements or exertions.  The glory and splendour bestowed on us are wholly gift, the initiative of God.   God is the true subject here.

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Ash Wednesday reflections

Ash WedsThese reflections were given as a homily at the Ash Wednesday service for the Lordsbridge churches hosted by St Mary’s Hardwick in 2019

What is Ash Wednesday for?  Here are three answers to that question any one of which, or all three, you might like to ponder –

Firstly, on Ash Wednesday we remember that we are mortal, we are not God.  A little later I will mark a cross of ash on some or all of your foreheads with these words: “From dust you come and to dust you will return”.  Doing so acknowledges that, as mortals, we are not the subject, not the author of our lives. There are those who believe that the ultimate human delusion is that we can control our lives and what happens within them.  Some would call this the ultimate deceit of the Evil One: to believe that we are the subject of our relationship with God, and that we grant him a bit of access to our lives now and again.  This denies entirely the truth about God, that God is God of all things.  That is the Creator and Giver of Life.  Whereas we are merely mortal creatures.  Continue reading

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A Way of Life: Holiness (Sunday Reflections, July 2018)

revert-now_revert-to-godliness-now-07This Sunday as part of our Way of Life series we take the second of the clauses in the baptismal commission:  “Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?”

There are a number of concepts here to be unpacked – sin, repentance, evil.  And I think  a particular risk for us, because on the whole we like talking about concepts, is that we don’t get to the application. we unpack theoretically, we don’t unpack practically.  So what, practically, does it mean to resist evil, to recognise our sinfulness, to repent and return to the Lord? What does this look like in your life today or this week? What does it look like for us collectively as the community of the followers of Jesus Christ in this place? Continue reading

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Kigali trip: a tale of two rural churches

This is Pastor Emmanuel, assistant pastor of Masaka parish, and his wife Immaculate.  We are standing outside Gako church, one of the two local ‘satellite’ churches that are part of Masaka parish.  At least it would be one of the local churches if it was open.  As a sound, though incomplete, building it has been closed by the new government building regulations.

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A Way of Life: One God, one body (Sunday reflections, July 2018)

 

I am using this morning/evening material from the Ely Way of Life recently published as a way of, as they put it, ‘raising the spiritual temperature of the diocese’.  We will be using this material through most of July and August.  Each Sunday the spoken material will be complemented by a leaflet, adds to what I have time to say in the next 10 mins or so.  I encourage you to use these next few weeks to think seriously about your spiritual temperature – are you too cool or just about right?  Continue reading

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Kigali trip: the contrasts of Kigali city

Kigali is a city of contrasts, with much development underway in accordance with the government’s ‘city plan’.  Here are a few photos taken in the city so that you can see something of this for yourself.

This could be in any city.

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