10th February – Time to prepare for the week ahead
Master, speak! Thy servant heareth,
waiting for thy gracious word,
longing for thy voice that cheereth;
Master, let it now be heard.
I am listening, Lord, for thee;
what hast thou to say to me?
We begin on Sunday with The Transfiguration of Christ. Many years ago, on a pilgrimage to The Holy Land we visited Mount Tabor, said to be the mountain where Jesus took Peter, James and John to pray. The church built there now is beautiful and I particularly remember the amazing ceiling in the image above. When Jesus was transfigured before them, his face shone like the sun and suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them. It was there that God affirmed Jesus as His Beloved Son.
On Tuesday it is Shrove Tuesday, traditionally preparing for Ash Wednesday. Maybe there will be Pancake races to watch or even take part in and pancakes to enjoy, a day for eating up rich foods in readiness for the leanness of Lent.
Ash Wednesday starts the forty days of Lent, this is the number of days our Lord fasted in the wilderness, like the forty-day fasts of Moses and Elijah which are recorded in the Old Testament. Lent, as a time of fasting, has been kept almost since the time of the Apostles. It is an end in itself for spiritually strengthening the faithful. It is a season when we pray for God’s compassion, and we should also show compassion to others. There are many Lent resources for us to use individually or in groups to help us.
The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are obtained by burning the palm crosses of the previous year and the sign of the cross put on the forehead with the words “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”
Creator God, we praise you,
because you love us, delight in us and love us,
despite our shortcomings.
Saviour God, we praise you,
because you love us to the uttermost,
offering us forgiveness and new life in you.
Spirit of God, we praise you,
because you pour your love into our hearts,
assuring, encouraging and remaking us.
May this Lent be a time
of inner peace and joyful prayer,
and casting off of burdens
of guilt and hopelessness;
so that we may then be ready to accept
the gracious gifts of Passiontide and Easter. Amen.
Liz Chick – Area Trustee for Southampton & Channel Islands Districts