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News from the Vicarage - March 2017

Dear Friends,

Lent begins on March 1st with Ash Wednesday. It takes its name from the ashes which people who were sorry for what they had done used to pour over their heads as they tore off their smart clothes and put on garments made from shabby old sackcloth.

Certainly we should be solemn through the forty days of Lent, no flowers in church, no Gloria, the somber penitential colour of purple, as we approach the Easter Triduum. We think on the temptations of Christ for forty days in the wilderness where he is tempted by the devil to give in to temporal power or easy fixes to prove he is the Messiah. We think of the awful suffering that Christ went through on the cross because of his great love for us. This does not mean that we should be outwardly miserable or make public displays of our piety. Jesus said 'whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.'

Take time in Lent to look critically at your way of life, and tell God that you are sorry. But do it in private, where nobody can see you. Come out with a smile on your face, because God is a loving heavenly Father who is quick to forgive us when we say sorry.

Our Ash Wednesday service is at the new time of 7pm as will all our special services be from now on (a joint decision by the Ministry Team and the PCC). This service will of course contain Ashing. Then on Wednesdays in Lent we will have Compline at 7pm with the Stations of the Cross, a good preparation for Good Friday and Easter, the Cross and Resurrection. On Fridays during Lent we have our usual soup Lent Lunches where the money which you might have spent on lunch goes to charity - the Bishop's Lent Appeal.

Mothering Sunday is on the Fourth Sunday of Lent March 26th, and has nothing to do with the American invention of Mother's Day, observed on the second Sunday in May. This year Mothering Sunday is the day after Lady Day, or the feast of the Annunciation, (which we keep with a service of Holy Communion at 9.30am on that Saturday), when we remember the angel Gabriel's visit to the Virgin Mary, telling her that God wanted her to have a baby. But not just any baby, but Jesus, the Son of God. Mary must have known what giving birth would involve, and yet without hesitation she agreed to do what God wanted her to. We give out flowers and cards to all who come to our 10.15am Mothering Sunday Service and the Archdeacon of Salop is our guest preacher.

My Prayers and best wishes,

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar