Rector's Letter  - March 2000

 My dear friends,

 Lent begins with a series of special days: We have Shrove Tuesday for our pancakes, Ash Wednesday as a day of penitence… but eventually we get round to just plain old Thursday - I suppose at some point, perhaps reluctantly, we have to get on with the business of Lent.  And who can blame us if we’re reticent?  It's only the rare ascetic amongst us that says “oh goody” at the prospect of 40 days of fasting and self-denial until the next set of special days: Good Friday, Easter Sunday etc.

 For some, their Lenten observation may be limited to a restriction on Chocolate.  If we're honest, our motivation may be more vanity and health rather than spirituality.  For the vast majority, of course, Lent means nothing at all.  It’s merely the gap between Jif Lemon Day and that funny bank holiday that's a bit of a pain because it moves around each year.

 But there is a serious purpose in the application of the Lenten disciplines: prayer, fasting and contemplation.  They’re not arbitrary, they’re a means to an end.  Come Easter, we expect to be different, to have changed and grown.  And that is what Lent is all about: Being changed and becoming the person we're meant to be.

 Lent may not be fashionable nor easily comprehended in our self-orientated self-indulgent society, but nevertheless, it's lost none of its potency over the years.

 Whatever it is that gives us the power to change our lives, whether it’s the spiritual disciplines of Lent, or in God's "mysterious ways" simply the lessons of life, we can’t pretend the process is comfortable.  Change rarely is.  But it can be good.  So here's to a good if at times uncomfortable Lent!  God bless you all.

               Jeff Cuttell.

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