Chaplain Writes

The Chaplain writes

Stewardship Month: Building a Church with living stones

Dear Saints, 

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
This year Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, 22 February. A period of 40 days of
preparation as we commemorate the passion and death of our Lord Jesus, which
culminates with Easter when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.

In the December 2022/January 2023 magazine, I wrote the following about
Advent, the season before Christmas:

"The idea of an active period of waiting and anticipation throughout the Old
Testament is linked to the coming of the Messiah. Not necessarily connected with
remembrance of personal and individual sins, but rather a context of oppression,
exploitation and injustice, the longing for freedom from the systemic evil of the
world, expressed in evil empires and tyrants. In the New Testament, also Paul
speaks of 'all creation groans for its redemption as we witness the evil that so
dominates our world'."

In the sermon on Sunday, we touched on the theme of waiting again. As we
reflected on Simeon's words in the Gospel of Luke, "Lord now let your servant
depart in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared for
all people …".

Simeon's witness begs us to ask what we are waiting for as Christians today and
"How do we wait?" "what do we do while we wait?"
While greeting the congregants after the service, one of you said, "We create
heaven on earth while we wait." A spot-on answer. That is what we are part of with
everything that comes with it.

The biblical imperative, as found in the book of Amos 5:24, "But let justice roll
down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream", linked to the
godly and noble imperative to eradicating poverty, seems to be the right things for
us, as we take stock of our Christian journey during this coming Lenten season.
The Church, in her wisdom, offers us an opportunity as individuals and as the body
of Christ: to pray, fast, reflect and give. A time to find some answers on how we
as Christians can make justice real in this evil world, knowing we can because
Christ rose from the dead at Easter.

For the Lenten Program at St Mary's this year, we chose the following elements
to help us find these answers:

  • • Personal reflection
    o Daily readings and reflection through the Passion
    narrative of Matthew
    • Communal worship
    o On Ash Wednesday, Sundays and weekdays during
    Holy Week
    • Fasting
    o On Fridays, ending our fasting by reflecting on the
    Stations of the Cross
    • Teaching
    • The "Poverty and the Bible" Lenten course is on
    four Saturdays during Lent.
  • I pray that Lent may be a blessed season this year for each
    of you and all of us as a community at St Mary's. A season in
    which we can pray, fast, and give. A season that strengthens
    us in work to make '… justice roll down like waters, and
    righteousness like an ever-flowing stream …' in the
    knowledge that we can do this in the power of the Holy
    Spirit, for this is truly God's plan for us, for the nations
    and for the world.

Yours in Christ as always

Revd Jacque Williams