We are approaching the season of Lent. Actually it's less of a season, more of an interruption.
It interrupts our habits with the challenge to pray and fast, to study and to give. It interrupts our complacency by beginning with Ash Wednesday when we face the truth that we are mortal, that is, that we will die. Then it interrupts our despair by leading day by lengthening day to Easter Sunday, when we see new life explode from a grave as Jesus rises from his own death and invites us to rise with Him from ours.
Here are some ways in which Lent will be interrupting us at St Michael's Wandsworth Common.
- Lent begins on Ash Wednesday which is on 14 February. We will have an Ash Wednesday Holy Communion service in the church at 12noon and then we will be taking our ashes out on to Northcote Road as we, once again offer 'Ashing on the Street.' This is the offer to pray for people and to mark them with the sign of the cross on their head or their hand as a sign of God's presence in the midst of our mortality.
- As well as our usual midweek pattern of worship, in Lent the Lady Chapel will be open for private prayer Monday - Wednesday 10am-3.30pm. We will have a range of resources to inspire your prayer.
- Join in our monthly prayer meeting on the first Tuesday of the month on Zoom.
For those who love to pray and walk, why not plan to meet up with others to do that in a more intentional way in the season of Lent as the spring arrives?
- In the Monday Bible study and in a weekly evening group that will meet on a Tuesday at the Vicarage, we will be studying "Borders and Belonging" by Pádraig Ó Tuama and Glenn Jordan. The authors were the leaders of the Corrymeela Community in Ireland. This book focuses on the Old Testament book of Ruth. He's what the Church Times review says, The authors present Ruth's story as a four-part drama. She is not only a widow, like her mother-in-law, Naomi, but a Moabite, regarded by Israelites as hostile and immoral. Can she overcome the stereotyping and be seen for who she really is rather than what she is thought to represent? She achieves this by showing how law and tradition can be overcome or reinterpreted by the power of kindness, what the Bible calls 'hessed'. She demonstrates that personal and human encounter are more important than ethnicity. That all sounds very nice, but the value of this book is that it does not gloss over the difficulties. Ruth's story is about destitute and marginalised people learning to survive, challenging inherited understandings of purity, hearing the voices of the ignored, and seeing the gaps where compassion may thrive, and the need for people to take the kind of risks which she and Boaz took.
Please join in either on Mondays at 9am in the church or on Tuesdays at 7.30pm at the vicarage from 19 February until 26 March.
- On Sundays we will be using the Church of England's set readings for the season to focus on some discipleship commands. Namely to be baptised, to follow Jesus, to love, to share Holy Communion and to be generous. These services will be especially designed with children and young people in mind as we hope to see some come to baptism and to receive Holy Communion for the first time at our Easter Sunday Celebration. If you are a parent of a young person who might like to take this next step or you yourself would like to, please prioritise Sunday services in Lent. And please let me know.
- We will have a Giving Sunday on 3 March when we will encourage thought and prayer into individual and family giving to this church and to charitable causes more generally.