Towards a Thankful Lent 2021

St. Michael’s Vicarage, Alnwick
February 2021

Dear Friends,
LENT 2021

Jennie and Iris were great friends and stalwart members of the church where I grew up and I remember them with great fondness.

Coming out of Evensong many years ago I recall a conversation that went something like this:
Iris: “Goodness, what miserable hymns we had tonight!”
Jennie: “Well, of course. It’s Lent; we’re meant to be miserable!”

It was at that point I resolved that, if ever I was to become ordained, I would ensure we avoided miserable hymns during Lent.

Despite the best attempts of many, it seems as if we have been in a permanent Lent for the last year. Undoubtedly, we have so much to be thankful for. There has been untold goodwill and concern. People have shown care and kindness for each other in a way that has been encouraging and refreshing — and now, as the vaccine is being rolled out so efficiently, there are signs of further hope which warm our hearts. For all of this: thanks be to God!

In the introduction to the Ash Wednesday Eucharist the president says: “I invite you, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent”- Despite the call to repentance which we receive each Ash Wednesday (and, indeed, every time we celebrate the Eucharist) we are reminded too that it is followed by the assurance of forgiveness. Nowhere does the Church invite us to the observance of a miserable Lent. And so, this year in particular, I want to invite you to the observance of a thankful Lent.

Let us use the six weeks which lie ahead of us to be thankful and positive in our outlook and in the time we spend in prayer and reflection.

Of course, if giving up milk in your tea, or lemon in your gin and tonic, really helps you then far be it from me to dissuade you from such practices. I would, however, urge you to be especially thankful for the things and people we often take for granted, to recognise each day the love which God demonstrates in sending us his Son and, above all, to be kind to yourself.

In these restricted times we will continue each Sunday with our streamed service of Holy Communion on YouTube at 10.00am and with our Zoom coffee time afterwards.

On Ash Wednesday (17th February) there will be a streamed service of Holy Communion at 10.15am which can also be viewed at any time later in the day if the morning session is not convenient for you.

In addition we will broadcast a simple service of Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer each Wednesday of Lent at 10.15am and on Thursday evenings we will be able to meet via Zoom when Gerard will guide us through ‘The Character Course’ which promises to be fascinating.

Further instructions on joining in all of this can be found on our website as detailed at the top of this letter.

Below, you will also find a selection of bible passages and prayers — some well-known, others less so — which I hope you will find helpful in the keeping of a thankful Lent.
With the assurance of my prayers and the hope that, before long, we may meet again as the gathered family of God in this place.


You can see Towards a Thankful Lent here.

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