The Vicar Writes – March 2019

From the Vicar

Carving out our time at Lent

Dear Friends

One thing is sure; life is never dull! Life nowadays is 24/7 and we can have anything we want, when we want. Seems like a good thing doesn’t it? A flexible world where we have complete choice over what we do and when. If I want to do my food shopping at midnight I can. If I want to buy some shoes online, while eating left over pizza and face timing my friend in Australia it’s achievable and even on Sunday at 10am! Oh dear that time appears to rule me out as I seem to have made a regular commitment to do something every week at that time.

However I do like the fact that I don’t have to remember to get to the shops before they shut at 5pm anymore or do I?

Sometimes I feel like I am running on empty, reacting to what everything throws at me and I long for some pattern and stability.

It is like the regular beat of your heart or the routine hug and kiss of your child as they go of to school or at bedtime. It makes me feel grounded and rooted to something. It means I am not in a perpetual state of anxiety wondering what I do next.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday on the 6th of March. It lasts for 40 days and is a reminder of Jesus and his journey in the wilderness. Lent derived from the old English word to ‘lengthen’ which pointed to the days getting longer as we look towards new growth at spring. Before plants can grow they need time to be nurtured in the soil.

Lent is a time to take back stability in our lives and to carve back a healthy pattern of prayer and worship. We can start going to worship on a Sunday or we can do it more calmly and regularly rather than rushing to fit it all in. It can mean carving out quiet time to be with God however we find ourselves, to talk, to plead, to laugh, to cry, to invite him into our space and watch how the Spirit moves us as we carve out this time.

On Ash Wednesday and throughout Lent we reflect on what it truly means to be human, to give ourselves back and to be forgiven, to create a new pattern. One that feeds our soul, calms and heals our minds and enables us to feel at peace, accepted and loved.

As the deer longs for the water brooks, so longs my soul for you, O God. My soul is a thirst for God, even for the living God.

Psalm 42

The Ash Wednesday Service in the round on Wednesday 6th March at 12.30 is a meaningful way to mark the start of Lent, receive the imposition of ashes and your Lenten heart. Community cafe is open after the service.

God Bless

Rev. Mell Jemmett

The Vicar Writes – February 2019

From the Vicar

Dear Friends,

Candles are very popular in the home. You only have to go to a big shopping mall to see how many shops sell them in all different shapes, smells and patterns. We are quite fascinated with them, the light and feel they bring. People put them round the bath, in fireplaces, on the table, in jars, in ornaments on shelves and in lanterns on the floor. We love to create a comforting atmosphere in the home.

At the start of February is the Feast of The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, also known as Candlemas. Traditionally Christians said their last farewells to the Christmas season on Candlemas, 2 February. This is exactly 40 days after Christmas Day itself. 40 is a very significant number in the bible. In New Testament times 40 days old was an important age for a baby boy, it was when they made their first ‘public appearance’. Mary as a proud and loving mum of Jesus went with Joseph to ‘present him to the Lord’. Thus we have the Festival of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.

So where does the Candlemas bit come in? Jesus is described in the New Testament as the Light of the World, and early Christians developed the tradition of lighting many candles in celebration of this day. Thus creating not just atmosphere but a symbol of this wonderful moment where the child, Jesus was revealed.

The Church created a custom of blessing the year’s supply of candles for the church on this day of Candlemas (candle- mass) The story that describes the meaning in this day can be found in Luke 2:22-40. Simeon and Anna have waited a very long time to finally meet Jesus.

Simeon’s great declaration of faith is of course found in the words of the Nunc Dimittis, a song you will hear sung or said in the Office of Evening Prayer in the West. You might also hear these words at a funeral after the committal. The Nunc Dimittis was first used on Candlemas during the distribution of candles before the Eucharist.

The words were first spoken by Simeon, on realising who Jesus was in the temple he declared, “my eyes have seen your salvation … a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel”

So in the dark months ahead we can all light a candle and ask for his protection. We gather together in church to banish away the winter blues, light a special candle and feel his comfort and strength that will see us all through. As we journey towards Lent, from the crib to the cross we shall behold his glory and understand the hope of our salvation.

God bless you and keep you safe in his care always.

Rev. Mell Jemmett

Visitors light candles in an Orthodox church by the sea in Cyprus

The Vicar Writes – January 2019

Dear Friends

We are in the season of Epiphany, which is a lovely church season. We need not get sad that the deeper meaning of Christmas is over because it continues into this season in a magical way. We leave the characters of the crib scene up because the Christian feast of Epiphany commemorates the mysterious visitors who came to the Christ child. The word used for the visitors has been translated as magi, wise men, kings or astrologers.

The visitors brought gifts, which symbolised Jesus’ identity: precious gold, linked with kingship; frankincense, a fragrant resin linked with divinity and holiness; myrrh – another resin with a bitter perfume associated with anointing for burial or suffering and mourning. The colours of Epiphany are white and gold. The season carries on through four Sundays and ends at Candlemas. That’s when we have our magical christingle service in the afternoon.

Epiphany means ‘to show’, ‘to make known’ or ‘to reveal’. So perhaps we can look into those encounters we have for the mystery of the season that guides us to know Jesus more deeply. As we go forward let us follow a new path with the new Spirit of hope that the newborn King brings to us.

As the New Year begins let us think about the gifts we bring to God, as we watch for his signs and listen for where he wants us to go as visitors. As we look ahead on the exciting journey our church is about to embark on we will thrive if we seek God’s vision. What part will we play in bringing our gifts to our church and community? Perhaps through the skills that we can offer to our local church we will reveal the love and the light of Christ. I believe we all have a part to play in God’s plan. In order to reveal the light we need to peel of a few barriers to seeing it. Sometimes we need to shake of a few obstacles or excuses and leave behind our doubts and fears and just follow God’s path for us like the Magi did.

One of the most familiar symbols in the Gospel is light and life, at the start of the Gospel of John “…in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” So let’s carry the beacon of faith on our path ahead this year and be brave. There amongst us will be his everlasting light; the good news of Christ can help us and also to welcome and comfort others to journey on.

Come along and collect your Christingle on Sunday 27th January at 4pm to remind yourself his light is with you. You are all a part of the wonderful gift of worship and of each other in God’s church here at The Holy Redeemer, Lamorbey.

May his light shine in your heart and guide you to him.

God Bless.

Rev. Mell Jemmett