A view from the Vicarage - February
David Briscoe once wrote, “There is a warning here for those of us who have ample access to God’s Word, who have Bibles we can read regularly, who attend services where the Word is preached faithfully. We can become so familiar with the message, we can so enjoy the sound of it and bask in the beauty of it, that we become desensitized to the meaning and impact of it.” [The One Year Devotions for Men, p. 12] These words truly hit home with me as I was going through a phase which can be described best as desensitized. I was going through the motions, despite my beliefs and deep faith.
I really had to stop and think. Was I so familiar with the Scriptures and so secure in my beliefs that I was taking them for granted? I even wondered how special and important it all was to me. That was scary! We are in the season of Lent—a time of reflection on our relationship with God. We are to look at our failings and mistakes to understand our need for a Saviour—for Jesus to die on the Cross. We do it every year and it is has become familiar and routine. That is dangerous!
It’s dangerous because it can make us lackadaisical in our faith. It is just there. And that’s when it becomes ordinary and nothing special. But God’s love for us is incredibly special. He created us in love and loves us unconditionally, but He also wants us to choose to love Him back. Think about the people you love. What separates them from others? They are special, and they are precious to us. We can’t imagine not having them in our lives. That’s how God feels about you! And that’s how He hopes you feel about Him too. Do you?
On the fourth Sunday in Lent, which this year is on 11 th March, we will gather at 11:15am at St Chad’s for a special Mothering Sunday celebration. We honour mothers, but it traditionally was a special Sunday when servants were given the day off to be able to go home to their mother church and be with their families. Mothers don’t necessarily have to be our biological mum; they can be any woman who has had a special impact on our lives. They are special and on this Sunday, we celebrate their love and our love for them with a special family-friendly worship service during which the children present a small bouquet of flowers to all mums in attendance, with light refreshments following the service. As a result, we are moving the usual BCP Morning Prayer service to the third Sunday in place of the family service.
At the end of the month, the church will gather at St Mary’s Chapel in the Aston Village Hall at 10:30am Palm Sunday service. Waving our palms and processing around the village, we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus knew He was going to face His death on the Cross, but His followers, despite His predictions, did not see it coming.
This year, why not come and walk with us, and as we walk put yourself into that original Palm Sunday parade into Jerusalem. What are your expectations? What does this man Jesus mean to you? Then continue that walk through the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, the trial and crucifixion on Good Friday, and His burial in the tomb. Your joy is shattered! Your hope is dead! Now what?
God thinks you are so special and so important to Him, that He chose to send His Son Jesus to die on the Cross as an atonement for our sins. There probably isn’t a death as painful and humiliating as to die hanging on a cross. Wow! Imagine sacrificing your only son to save others you love from an eternal death. I don’t know about you, but that is immensely humbling for me. It also makes me embarrassed that I might ever take it for granted. That’s why the Good Friday service is so important. It will be at St Leonard’s Woore this year at 2:30pm on Friday the 30th.
Experience and feel this story anew. It is my hope that you will be transformed again, and your faith will be energized beyond your expectations. Let the familiar story overwhelm you, and then come and celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection on Sunday 1 st April at 11:15am at St Chad’s.
Rev. Don Alcock Telephone: 01630 647 911 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org