Parish Newsletter - March 2017
‘Some people think that having ash on your forehead is ridiculous. But I am neither ashamed nor afraid because the ashes remind me that I have to someday pass away and reunite with my creator.’ -- Walter Buns
Symbols are important. They can connect us with God in a more meaningful way than simply words. The ashes with which we are marked on Ash Wednesday symbolise two things.
First the ashes remind us of our mortality and that we will one day die. The words used are ‘remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.’ The account in the Book of Genesis tells us that God formed man from the dust of the earth. This is where our scientific understanding connects with the Bible because science also explains that all life comes forth from the substance of the earth.
And then, lest we forget, at every funeral service we also hear that we are but dust and ashes. On Ash Wednesday we remember that we will one day come face to face with God – our earthly lives are brief; it is a prompt for us to examine the way we live now.
Second the ashes symbolise penance. Ash Wednesday is a day of penitence and repentance. Sorrow for the ways we have failed God and an expressed intention to reform the way we live.
When we kneel to receive the mark of the cross in ash on our foreheads we are reminded of the lowly place where we truly stand before God. It is a powerful moment.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. In our contrition we are also reminded that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on him with repentant hearts.
If you have never been to an Ash Wednesday Service I encourage you to come along and receive the ashes and enter into Lent in the spirit of reflection and prayer.
This year’s Lent series is focussed on Holy Habits, exploring the nature and nurture of Christian discipleship. The course will be held on Wednesday evenings during Lent in the Broughton Lounge of the Hugglescote Community Centre at 7.30pm (refreshments from 7.15pm) beginning on March 8th and culminate in an Agape meal held in St John’s on the Wednesday of Holy week. You will find a flyer in the churches.
We have made the most of the Count Your Blessings boards! As well as writing our own expressions of thankfulness towards God for all God gives us, we held a really successful coffee morning during half term giving away coffee and cake and making crafts with the children and encouraging those who came to count their blessings too. The boards soon filled up.
Then last week the two year 2 classes from Hugglescote School came into church and thought about the good things in their life and wrote thank you messages to God on the boards. At the same time they explored the church and did a church quiz. They sang a ‘Count Your Blessings’ song. It was a great fun - a really good church visit.
Finally we wiped the boards clean again and invited the guests who came along to Lisa and Sam’s wedding yesterday to write messages of blessing for the couple and their future.
Our activities may also appear on the Leicester Diocese website! Keep a look out and check the website and ‘diomail.’ If you don’t receive this weekly news summary from the diocese go on the website and sign up for it. It is a good way of staying in touch with the wider diocese.
At the same time our own new parish website is under construction. I am grateful for Peter smith who is doing the hard work to build it. Details coming soon. Watch this space.
With my prayers for a meaningful Lent for us all.
Every blessing. Olwen