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Lent at St. Raphael Church

Lent is all about the journey

Friends,

We are doing something new: adjusting our Herald to reflect the Church Seasons rather than the calendar month. Trying something new can often lead us to new insight and focus, and that’s what we hope will be possible with the present Herald which is offered for the 40-day season of Lent.

Lent is all about the journey. It starts in winter and ends in Spring. Death to life, darkness to light, scarcity to plenty, tears to joy. It feels as if the world needs this journey more than ever this year, and that we are being called to be the difference that is good news at this time.

Lent begins on March 2 with Ash Wednesday (following the last party we shall share together on Shrove Tuesday, with pancakes for all!). It is one of the most personal and poignant services of the year, when we allow ourselves to be marked with a cross of ashes, a reminder that ‘we are dust and to dust we shall return’. Lent then becomes a journey towards the forgiveness and new life that we celebrate at Easter. It is a journey of reflection on prayer, fasting and almsgiving: our relationship with God, our priorities in our lives, and our generosity towards God and others. All of it happens as we remember that we are forever held in God’s hands and heart, loved before we ever loved God, known better than we know ourselves. The gentle love of God is forming us to better love one another as God loves us. And to then be for one another, together, the beloved community God intends for us to be.

The disciplines of prayer, fasting and giving during Lent are an opportunity to learn something new about the ways in which we might connect with God, ourselves and others. This year, we shall be trying three different ways together: we shall ‘trypraying’, share a simple meal after midday Wednesday services, and reflect in different ways on the stations of the Cross on Fridays.

Our Mission committee is excited about ‘trypraying’. It is a very gentle message to encourage prayer. In the midst of everything that has happened, changed or turned our world upside-down in the last two years, we invite folk to, simply, to try prayer. By Shrove Tuesday, we shall display a poster for passers-by to see. There are three books involved for different age-groups, pictured below. The blue book is small, 7-day invitation to pray about commitment, others, the Lord’s prayer, healing, justice that couldn’t be more simple for beginners to prayer. It is to be passed on to those who want to learn to pray. Our Children’s Chapel will be focusing on teaching our children about prayer, as will our VBS in June.

On Wednesdays, we shall be following a study, ‘Give us this day’. Different sorts of bread will be baked to have with soup, alongside a reflection from this book, and prayer together. Join us after the healing service at midday!

And then, on Fridays, again at midday, Sister Becky and I shall be leading different reflections on the Stations of the Cross. There will also be a children’s Stations of the Cross that will be on Saturday March 19 at midday. Of course, the final Stations of the Cross will be on Good Friday as ever.

Please join us in some way on this Lenten journey. May this Lent teach us something new about who we are before God: beloved.

With my love and prayers,
Rev Helen

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