Category Archives: Lent

Looking Forward

Readings for Palm Sunday

Isaiah 50:4-9, Philippians 2:5-115: 1-11 & Matthew 27:11-54

31

 Monday 3rd April

It is still a long way to Good Friday but one of the prayers for next Sunday is significant.

Prayer: True and humble king, hailed by the crowd as Messiah: grant us the faith to know you and love you, that we may be found   beside you on the way of the cross, which is the path of glory.

Jesus turns his face to his future and it was not the prettiest prospect. Yet the fulfilment of his life was the cross.

Question: Wonder at the way in which Jesus walked towards his end.  Would our promise be to stay with him?

 

Darning Socks

Readings for 5th Sunday in Lent

Ezekiel 37.1-14,, Romans 8.6-11; and John 11:1-45

30

Saturday 1 April 

In Henning Mankell’s novel ‘The fifth Woman’, Linda, Wallander’s daughter, asks her father,   “Why is it so difficult to live in Sweden”. He replies “Sometimes I think it’s because we’ve stopped darning our socks. When I was growing up,  Sweden was still a country where people darned their socks … then suddenly, one day, it was over; socks with holes in them were thrown out, no one bothered to repair them, the whole society changed. Wear it out then toss it was the only rule that applied.

As long as it was just a matter of our socks a change didn’t make much difference, but then it started to spread, until finally it became a kind of invisible moral cold. I think it changed our view of right and wrong, of what you were allowed to do to other people and what you weren’t. More and more people, especially young people feel unwelcome in their own county. How do they react; with aggression and contempt. The most frightening thing is that I think we’re only at the beginning of something that’s going to get a lot worse. A generation is growing up right now …. who are going to react with even greater violence and they have absolutely no memory of a time when we darned our socks. When we didn’t throw everything away, weather it was our woollen socks or human beings.

Question: Did Jesus darn socks? He certainly didn’t throw away  relationships. For him people were children of God, they were the ‘Imago Dei’ of God. So, what has that got to say about how we approach people who would appear different today? What are the consequences of drawing closer to God during this Lenten period, and what does the  approaching Holy Week and Easter story mean for us in today’s world? Should we learn to darn socks?

 

 

‘Come Out’

Readings for 5th Sunday in Lent

Ezekiel 37.1-14,, Romans 8.6-11; and John 11:1-45

29

Friday 31 March

John 11:43, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ Come out of the dark, come out from the touch and stink of death, come out of the emptiness and shadow of the     underworld into the light, into the air, and live.     David, Simon, Susan, Brenda ……. Whoever you are, Jesus is calling you – come out from darkness into the light, emerge from the chrysalis like the beautiful, yet fragile butterfly and live……If only it were that easy, to ‘come out’ takes courage, it takes courage to open yourself and to trust that others won’t use your vulnerability and squash the emerging self. Come out & live, is different to come out & wish you could go back because you are afraid. It’s perfect, unconditional love that casts out fear & perfect, unconditional love is what we have to offer because it is what God in Jesus offers us. But, oh it’s hard – and our faltering failure injures others.

Prayer: Lord I know that coming out to freedom is costly. Grant me the grace and strength to hear your voice and follow you.

 

Crying

Readings for 5th Sunday in Lent

Ezekiel 37.1-14,, Romans 8.6-11; and John 11:1-45

28

Thursday 30 March

Patripassianism is a grand word. It refers to the doctrine that in the sufferings of Jesus Christ God the Father also suffered. There’s more to it than this of course,  like there are more angels on the head  of a pin than you can care to count, and technically, if you go in for this kind of stuff it’s a heresy. Theologians   can pass hours on this kind of thing of course, but in Jn 11:35 we read ‘Jesus wept’ and for me at least, if all we can see and know of God, we see and know in Jesus, then God wept and continues to weep as he walks around this world.

 My father cried, he cried as he approached his death, he cried out of concern for those he loved, and he cried because he was leaving them.

 As I get older, I find it easier to cry. I can cry for what has been,  what could have been, and what there is.  I cry for my grandchildren’s  future. I cry not because, I’m a cry baby, over-soft and sentimental, but like   Jesus, I sense a deep sorry at the heart of things that  threatens and sometimes seems to overwhelm the deeper joy. In Helen Waddell’s  novel Peter Abelard, Thibault reaches out and touches the dead rabbit in Peter’s hand and says, as he stroked his long ears, “Old lop ears, maybe this is why he died”.

 Prayer: Lord, in my tears and laugher, in the tears and laughter of those around me, help me to recognised your tears and suffering then and as you watch the world today. So you share may I share. Amen

 

Quixotic Moment.

Readings for 5th Sunday in Lent

Ezekiel 37.1-14,, Romans 8.6-11; and John 11:1-45

27

Wednesday 29 March

The local authority had spent considerable effort and money planting daffodil bulbs  on the green at the centre of the circle   bordered by the community shops at the heart of the village. One evening the   beautiful and vivid yellow display was  beaten down by trampling and hacking   destruction. I recalled as a boy, brandishing a wooden sword, which my father had made for me, and similarly hacking down my grandmothers Iris’s, much to her vexation. I have to say, I don’t recall ‘having a tanned backside’ as my mother threatened, but I was at pains to point out they hadn’t been flowers they had been giants: I had had my own ‘Quixotic’ moment.

There is seeing and seeing: telling my science teacher in school that I was bored, brought the caustic comment that when a donkey looks at a great work of art, he doesn’t see much, but it’s not the fault of the artist. The beauty of the daffodils wasn’t seen, the gold filigree woven amongst the thread. My friend, the person in charge of the planting, rebuffed calls to concrete over the green, and replanted. I asked what he would do if the same happened again, he replied, ‘replant, replant, replant, until they see’.

Prayer: Lord, to set the mind on the flesh is death, to set the mind on your Spirit is life and peace. Help me to understand that to see through and beyond and into, is to grasp another reality indeed. Amen