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THE START OF LENT

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The Rector writes:  The word Lent derives from the old English word lencten meaning spring and we can at least rejoice in the lengthening of days with the promise of spring to come. Mind you this year, with a very early Easter, Ash Wednesday falls on 10th February and comes only a week or so after we have celebrated Candlemas and the end of the Epiphany season. February doesn’t always feel like spring! But ours is not to reason why when it comes to the calendar.

We will be celebrating Ash Wednesday with a Joint Benefice Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes at 7pm in St Thomas’. There will also be a School Eucharist in St Thomas’ that morning at 9am and I shall also be popping into Icklesham School to talk about Ash Wednesday with the children there.

Lent is an important time for Christians when we consider the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness. For that reason it is a special period in the Christian year, to reflect seriously on what we might do to make these weeks, in our own Christian journey, a time for growth and for deepening our faith.

As ever we look forward to meeting for our annual Lent Course during the weeks leading up to Holy Week. This year we shall have one evening meeting, again for the whole Benefice and we shall meet at Five Villages in Icklesham on Tuesday evenings from 7pm until 8.30pm. We will be studying this year’s 2016 York Course. The York Courses have proved popular over the years and this year’s series is based on the Psalms and is written by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford. The course will start on Tuesday 16th February and end on Tuesday 15h March. A list will be out in our three churches for people to sign up and purchase a copy of the booklet to go with the course. Please don’t worry if you cannot make every week and if the planned day is difficult for you, you might still like to work through the course booklet on your own at home.

The Church Times also produces a list of Lent books which you might be interested in reading for your own quiet Lenten time of reflection and prayer. Please have a word with me if you want to know more about available Lenten material for prayer and study.

The Psalms are a rich well spring of every facet of human emotion, from the joy and praise of God’s creation and the world around us to the sorrow and lament of loss. The reality of our lives is poured forth in the words of the Psalmist. “The church with psalms must shout, no door can keep them out” as the great priest and poet George Herbert writes. He is commemorated incidentally at the end of the month on Saturday 27th February.

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