Feb 2008

Coming up to Lent

Christmas seems to have only just happened and now we are already approaching the season of Lent. 2008 is one of those years where, due to an early Easter, the season of Lent is beginning in mid February, only six weeks after Christmas.
For me this is a poignant reminder that without Easter there wouldn’t be any Christmas, and that for the early church Easter was crucial, without Christmas even existing: Let’s remember that Paul, writing at around 50 AD, doesn’t pay any attention to any birth narrative of Jesus at all. Similarly, Mark, the earliest of the four gospels from around 70 AD doesn’t talk about Jesus’ birth, but lets the story of Jesus’ life begin with John the baptiser and the adult Jesus’. Only the later gospels Matthew and Luke contain the “Christmas stories” we now so love and cherish, of Jesus born in a manger (Luke) and the wise men from the East coming to pay their homage (Matthew).

Christ, crucified and risen, is the event revealing God’s immeasurable love and his desire to be in relationship with us. A desire, which cannot be contained by any earthly or heavenly boundaries, not even death, but spills over into every fibre of any created being, situation or event, at every time.

Or, Christ, crucified and risen, is the event – in Paul’s words - which shows, that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39f).

I invite us to walk together again on this journey from Christmas to Easter, and discover the story of our own lives in the life of Jesus and be enriched and nourished by his presence.
The lectionary guides us in this, every Sunday, by suggesting both, Old and New Testament passages for reflection and preaching. As I am writing this, the season of Epiphany will still be with us for another two Sundays, then Transfiguration Sunday on 3rd Feb (how about reading Matthew 17:1-9?), and then the season of Lent, with its first Sunday on 10th Feb, and the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11).

I also want to invite you to participate in 4 joint Bible studies with  our friends from the Methodist church on “The way of the cross”. Brenda Gutberlet, the Methodist minister will be leading studies on Wednesdays 13th, 20th, 27th February and 5th of March at the Methodist church at 8pm, and David and Birgit will be leading the same sessions on Fridays 15th, 22nd, 29th February and 7th March at Christ Church at 9.45 am. The series will then finish with a Passover Meal on Wed 12th March.

I hope you are going to join the Lenten journey one way or another, and I look forward to journeying with you.


February 2008