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Rector's View - February 2009

Dear friends,

This year Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, falls on 25 February. The best way to begin Lent is to attend the Celebration of the Eucharist at All Saints', Wickhambrook at 7.00pm on that day. There will be Imposition of Ashes at the Eucharist, for those who wish to receive it.

Many years ago, when people had committed serious sins, and had therefore been excommunicated, they would wear their simplest clothes and scatter ashes on their heads as a sign that they were truly sorry. We still sometimes say that someone is 'wearing sackcloth and ashes'.

The service on Ash Wednesday is still conducted in much the same way as it was a thousand years ago. The priest dips his thumb in ashes, produced by burning some of last year's Palm Crosses, and makes the mark of a cross on people's foreheads, saying to each person: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ."

If this all sounds very gloomy it is because human sinfulness and the consequences of sin are depressing. Therefore, Lent is a time for sorrow and self-denial, but with a confidence in the forgiveness of God, which is limitless and freely given to those who ask for it in good faith.

Some people still make Lent a time to give up something they enjoy, but many now make a resolution to do something positive and constructive during this period - 'taking up', rather than 'giving up.'

This might be setting aside time each day to read from the bible and/or from a Christian book - there are many Lent books for sale in Christian bookshops. It may be visiting someone who is lonely; attending a mid-week Eucharist, or setting aside extra time for prayer and meditation.

There are many possibilities, as long as what we choose to do helps us to grow in love for God and for other people. Please think and pray about how you will observe Lent for the love of God.

A particular opportunity for Spiritual growth is the Lent Course, which will be held on Mondays 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 March and 6 April at 7.30pm in the Benefice Hall. We will be using the course "Suffolk Postcards."

This is a Diocesan resource for Lent 2009, written by lay and ordained people from the Diocese. It's about having a conversation between the Gospel and Suffolk today. Six Postcards, one for each week in Lent, bring together the set Sunday Gospel readings with colourful images of life in Suffolk. Resources are provided for discussion, reflection and prayer. The Christian Gospel is earthed. Jesus shared the Good News with people in his own place and time, over an area about the same size as our Diocese. If that is what the Gospel looked like there and then, what does it mean for us here and now? Please consider joining us, if you are able to.


Revd Stephen Abbott

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Last Modified Sunday 04 March 2018