Minty’s March Letter

As I come to write this, following my mother’s death, an emergency admission to hospital and subsequent time off for recovery, I want first to say a big ‘thank you’ for all the cards, support, love and prayers for us over the past month and also to all those who have stepped in to cover for me in various ways. Thank you all and please continue to pray for me as I gradually pick up the various strands of my work in the coming weeks.

On Ash Wednesday I experienced a strange juxtaposition of events in that, just before I left for a service at the Cathedral, the funeral director called to say that they had collected my mother’s ashes from the Crematorium. So the words said during the service at the imposition of ashes, ‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return’, seemed particularly poignant. Words reminding us of our mortality but also offering hope in God through Jesus as they continue ‘Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ’. Words emphasising that receiving the sign of the cross in ash is an outward symbol of penitence and repentance, a turning again to Jesus and of God’s gift of grace and life in him, words that set our observance of Lent in context.

Lent offers us a time of introspection and self-examination that is not about ‘beating ourselves up’ for our failings but rather an opportunity to take stock realistically and to open ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit as Jesus did in the wilderness. It’s a time when we look to Jesus, our model, seeking to follow him more closely. It’s about hearing afresh the call to radical discipleship in response to God’s radical love. So we should perhaps expect to find this a challenging time prompting us to deeper engagement with God in prayer and in attending to his Word. Our current sermon series, Dying to Live, and the accompanying study notes offer us the chance to focus on and engage with this process which of course is not one solely confined to Lent.

In the midst of this we embark on the next stage in the process to appointment our next vicar as interviews take place on 20th March. Please pray for the panel and the candidates. Pray that the panel (Vanessa and Phil, our parish representatives, John Fisher from CPAS, the Archdeacon, Christine Froude, and Rod Symmons, our Area Dean) may know the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit and may be given clarity, wisdom and come to a common mind as they discern who God is calling to St Matt’s.


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