Lenten Activity

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

As I write this letter, having only a few days ago put the Christmas decorations in the loft, I am conscious that Lent will soon be upon us – so three cheers for the Archbishop of Canterbury who is backing a suggestion that the date of Easter should be fixed – presumably allowing us a little lengthier break between singing ‘We three kings’ and ‘Forty days and forty nights’!

Over the years I have attended, contributed to and led numerous Lent Courses. Amongst those that were most memorable was a series led by the late Brother Edward SSF in the early 1970’s on famous Anglicans who had influenced his thought and, more recently, two courses based on splendid little books by Bishop Stephen Cottrell called ‘The Nail’ and ‘The Things He Carried.’

I do, however, have one slight hesitation about traditional Lenten activity. Extremely worthy though our acts of discipline and self-denial may be (and they are) the very kernel of our faith, Christ’s victory over death through his resurrection from the dead, can get side-lined.

With this in mind, the plan is that we spend this coming Lent looking at some implications of the resurrection – and, not least, implications for us here in 21st Century Alnwick.

We hope to have two groups (at least) running: an afternoon session and an evening one – and more details of times and venues will be published soon.

Working with the title: ‘ENCOUNTERS – meeting the risen Jesus!’ we will hold five sessions which will enable us to reflect on people’s encounters with Jesus after his resurrection, and to think through the implications for our own lives.

I hope that, as I do, many will feel excited by this prospect for it seems to me a golden opportunity to grow together in faith and in understanding.

Do consider joining one of these groups and please, don’t think ‘Oh that’s all right for those who enjoy that sort of thing, but it’s not for me …’ It might just be that it is exactly for you!

Even before we begin, I know that we will not end up with lots of perfect answers. Actually, that is not the purpose of the exercise: rather, it will give us an opportunity to reflect together and to consider just why it is that we say (in the words of St. Augustine of Hippo) ‘We are an Easter people and ALLELUIA! is our song!’

Amongst everything else that we do during Lent, including giving things some up and/or taking extra things on, may we come to Easter Day understanding a little more why it is such Good News!

With every blessing,
Paul.

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