Thought for the Week
Third Week before Lent
As the Lenten Season begins to draw closer it is time to think about how to prepare for the 40 days.
What can we do to think about what will help us as individuals, and collectively, to find shade where we can grow in the love of God.
Perhaps it will be in the Psalms e.g. Psalm 10 a Psalm of lament. A Psalm that graphically describes the circumstances of the religious faithful who even when feeling God is hidden in the distance, can pray in faith. It is good to remember that God is a righteous ruler who will put down the wicked and lift up the downtrodden and helpless. Human rulers may appear to have terrifying power but it is the supreme authority of God that rules over all protecting the helpless from proud, power-mad rulers.
The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from His land.
The Lord has heard the desire of the poor, your ear has attended to the readiness of their heart to give judgement for the orphan and the lowly, that people may cease from their boasting on earth. Psalm 10: 16-18 (The Bible – Nicholas King translation)
Find a space in daily life and sit in the shade of God’s love. Think how love ought to manifest itself in deeds rather than in words and how there can be a mutual sharing whether of goods or knowledge. Ask for the desire for the intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Holy Trinity.
Suggested thoughts to ponder upon when preparing for Lent:
No one can do our religion for us. We must deal with Jesus directly.
How is Jesus Christ teaching us as individuals? How are we, as individuals to serve His church?
How are we to seek God’s will?
Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great (1 Timothy 3:16) as it breaks down barriers of race and religion to reach all nations through the love God has for each of us in our seeking the face of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The presentation of Christ in the Temple – February 2nd
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace : according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen : thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared : before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles : and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
I am sure that all of us, at one time or another, have looked down into a pram and complimented the parents on how beautiful their baby is, “oh, isn’t she/he beautiful!, He’s got your eyes and his father’s nose hasn’t he/she?”, or words to that effect.
Sometimes it is easy to be complimentary of the beautiful sleeping little cherub before you. Other times we just say it to be polite, either way it is nice to see a new life and to celebrate in some small way with the mum and dad.
Simeon certainly celebrates seeing Jesus, not just for him some nice platitudes but an exclamation of great joy. His words, the Nunc Dimittis, are a hymn of great joy and great satisfaction for Simeon. After all those years of waiting he has seen God.
What did Simeon see in Jesus?
Did he see God’s eyes or nose?
Or Mary’s chin or mouth?
His words of joy go deeper than mere polite platitudes, they come from his heart, for at that chance moment of meeting, all of Simeon’s hope, all of his expectation, all of his many years of prayer had, in that instance, been fulfilled.
Simeon saw not a beautiful child but a beautiful peace, a beautiful calm, a beautiful presence that can only come from God. At that moment two souls touched, the soul of God in Jesus and the soul of a man who suddenly realised that all he been promised by an unseen God was right there in front of him.
As we prepare for Lent, let us pray with Simeon that we may ‘See Salvation’, for us it will not be in the form of a tiny child but in the broken body of a man on a cross. And at that moment, if we believe as Simeon did, then two more souls will touch, ours and God’s.
The Fourth Week of Advent
The candle that is lit this week is for Peace and Love
‘Glory in the highest to God and on earth peace among human beings who are pleasing to God’
I look up at the destroyed buildings
I walk through Flanders Fields.
The dreams and thought of soldiers lying
dead on the grass with larks all crying.
Their song is like a yell, a scream
I close my eyes and start to dream.
I dream of Peace and burning fire
I dream of love and life and courage.
As I wake, I think about
the thoughts in my head, in and out.
I see flowers, poppies and crosses round
But there’s nobody to be found.
War is like a virus, a germ
it effects people and how they learn.
That God is with us and we’re all friends
So let’s make peace until the end.
(Kitty Evans Year 6 St Bride’s Major School)
In this season of penitence the questions to ask may still be:
“What remains for me to say sorry to God for?” “What do I need to do to make peace?”
“What do I need to do to stir my faith up and show the Light of the World shining brightly?”
Let us place our hand in the hand of the Man who loves us as we repent of our failings,
And may we enjoy a blessed Christmas as we come to new life.
Revd. Moira Spence