You may have noticed that Pancake Tuesday has been and gone. That means that the season of Lent has begun. For Christians, Lent has traditionally been a period of prayer and fasting. You can see what is happening at St Philip & St James during Lent by clicking on this link:
Among other things we are organising five Bible study sessions on zoom. We reflected that the pandemic and lockdown has placed many relationships under great strain. We wanted to reflect on how we are called to relate to other people by looking at how Jesus related to the people he encountered. So, each session looks at a different encounter with Jesus in Mark's Gospel.
Maybe these sessions will help us to repent of things we have been doing that harm others. Maybe they will help us understand the depth of God's mercy so that we will feel ourselves to be truly forgiven and be able to extend that forgiveness to others in our dealings with them. Repentance and trusting in God's mercy are two main themes of Lent.
You will probably have heard of people 'giving things up for Lent'. These days it is not unusual for people to give up chocolates or biscuits or alcohol for this period. These are good things to do from the health point of view of course, but that's not the main reason for giving things up during Lent. The idea is that by denying ourselves we draw closer to God.
Some people go a step further and use the money they save by giving things up to support acts of charity. We will be announcing our Lenten appeal shortly.
Chester Diocese has just unveiled its own Lenten programme. They are calling on people to change two aspects of their lifestyle for the duration of Lent that will impact positively on the environment and the climate change emergency.
But if you are looking for a practical and local Lenten challenge, maybe you can consider supporting the foodbank at our church? There are actually two ways you can help us.
Firstly, you can donate food. This is easily done. Just bring the food to the church porch and put it in the bright yellow bin. The church porch is almost always open so we can accept donations at any time.
Secondly, do you know somebody who might need the food from our foodbank? The pandemic has brought rapid changes to our world. Many of the people who really need help are simply not used to asking for it. People are reluctant to come to a foodbank. Maybe you can encourage them. Ask them to contact me on 07794 122602 or [email protected]
With Best Wishes, Robin