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From the Vicar - March 2021

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Well, not much has changed since I sat down last month to write my article for our February newsletter.

We’re still in lockdown, our church-buildings are still closed, and I suspect many of us are thoroughly fed up of ‘lockdown’ by now.  However, there are many reasons for hope.  The snow is long gone, and the last few days have been considerably warmer.  I think we’ve even had some days without rain!  Snowdrops, daffodils, crocuses and primroses have all emerged from the ground to brighten up our grass verges and gardens.  Spring is in the air.

In the church year, too, change is afoot, as we have entered the season of Lent.  Lent is often thought of as a rather sombre, or even depressing, season, as we walk with Jesus on the way to the cross.  For many people, Lent has always been a time for self-denial – for giving up something we enjoy: chocolates, sweets, biscuits, cakes, meat, or alcohol, perhaps.  However, for some years now, there has been an alternative voice calling us to do something positive in Lent, and to “take on” something new, rather than “give up” sugary snacks.  Perhaps, in previous years, you’ve taken part in the “40 acts” Lent generosity challenge, read a Lent Book, joined a Lent Group, or donated to a Food Bank or other charity to observe the season of Lent?  

For Christians, Lent is a season for drawing closer to God and, although some find fasting, abstinence and self-denial helpful spiritual disciplines, they do not necessarily work for everybody.  And, when we have been deprived of so many luxuries, and so many of the things that are essential for our well-being and health over the past twelve months, now might not be the time for further deprivation.  Perhaps, instead, we need to be kind to ourselves, so that we can be kind to others.  We need to love ourselves, so that we can love our neighbours.  We need to let God love us, so that we can share that love with others.

Jesus told his disciples, “Do not worry about your life…  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they? … Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these …” (Matthew 6.25 – 29). God does not want us to worry.  He wants us to thrive.  The God who created the birds of the air, and the flowers of the field, and who cares for them, cares even more for his beloved children – for us.  God loves us unconditionally.  

This Lent, I encourage you to take time, each day, to watch the birds, and to observe the flowers in our villages and gardens.  Taking time to observe the natural world, and to focus our full attention on the birds, flowers, insects and mammals that share our habitat with us, can be wonderful for our well-being and mental health.  It can also draw us away, for a while, from our worries and concerns so that, rather than being bowed down by our burdens, we can raise our eyes and lift up our hearts to the God who created us for relationship, and who loves us so much that he sent his son.  This Lent, I encourage you to do whatever you feel will draw you closer to God, or – for those who do not identify as Christians - enable you to explore your spirituality, and reflect upon your own beliefs.

I am monitoring daily COVID-19 infection rates, deaths and hospital admissions, and waiting for an announcement from the government in the next day or two, but I am hopeful that – as more and more people in our villages receive the corona-virus vaccine, and as infection rates continue to drop - we will be able to plan a safe return to some form of worship outside and inside our churches.  At the very least, I’m hoping we’ll be able to bless and distribute flowers on Mothering Sunday, and observe Holy Week and Easter together.

Stay safe, take care, and do contact me if you’d like a chat or – when safe – if you’d like me to visit you in your garden or home.

God bless

Karen x