February Letter from Revd. Canon Simon PitcherFebruary 3, 2021
January was not an easy month for anyone. A new severity of coronavirus caused a national lockdown, and a medical emergency in our hospitals. As I write, the start of February does not look like it is going to be any easier. The whole world has a very lentern feel about it. We are reminded that we are but dust, and our own ideas of self assurance and self reliance now look like so much ash.
Lent starts in mid February just as we might hope to emerge from the worst of the lockdown. Lent is a season of repentance. Repentance requires wisdom. The wisdom to look back and to acknowledge the things that we did wrong, the times we turned away from God and pursued our own agenda. As a human race a time of repentance might be a good thing and the timing of Lent might be highly appropriate and helpful.
We hope and pray that the vaccines will defeat the virus and that life will return to normal. But what should normal be? Lent is a time of spiritual discipline during which, by prayer and fasting, we turn back to God, hear his voice, and learn to be his people once again. The kingdom of God is described by Jesus as being evident when ; The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. (Matthew 11 verse 5) In other words when society is transformed by the infusion of God’s grace and mercy. What might a God filled, kingdom based society in our church and in our public life look like in a post Covid world?
Lent is the time to seek that vision and to let it begin in each one of us, as we seek that future which is God’s loving gift to his people. As always the Book of Common Prayer expresses better than I can, the things that I am trying to say;
ALMIGHTY God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live; and hath given power, and commandment, to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins: He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel. Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him, which we do at this present; and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure, and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Yours in Christ