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APRIL 2017

Well Lent continues to go by and now we have entered into those final two weeks of Lent known as Passiontide.
How has your Lent gone so far? Have you managed to abstain from the thing or things you have given up for this penitential season? Chocolate biscuits or alcohol maybe. Have you managed to set aside time for extra payer and devotion? Or perhaps you decided to look more deeply at the bible or engage in a Lenten reading guide? Or maybe, you didn’t come to any decision as to what you might do at all in Lent? And it’s just stayed like that. You might on the other hand have had all the best intentions in the world to keep a holy and disciplined Lent, only to fall at the first hurdle!
How disappointing we can be. I know I’m constantly disappointed with myself! If we’re disappointed with ourselves, we are at least in good company. St Paul says, in his letter to the church in Rome.
‘I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.’
Paul at this stage would be of a high spiritual state and yet he still realises the struggle of being ordinary and human, because he is ordinary and human. Paul is saying that moral aspiration and performance, putting it into practice, don’t always go hand in hand. I think an ancient Roman poet wrote.
‘I perceive what is better and approve of it, but I pursue what is worse.’
It’s not easy being a human being. On the one hand we are made in the image of God and possess some great qualities, because we reflect something of God’s nature; but on the other hand we can be quite opposite to God, in the way we live our lives. In the way we do and don’t do things.
But, we have to keep on trying. We can’t do it all on our own, God knows that and through his Son Jesus, God has the experience of knowing what it’s like to be human.
Whatever we do or try and do for Lent, shouldn’t just be something we forget when Lent is over and we have moved on to celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. It should be a pointer to how we might live the rest of our lives. Yes of course we can eat chocolate biscuits again or enjoy a few drinks! But we should try and carry within us something of Christ’s sacrificial nature. Jesus showed his sacrificial nature when he fasted for forty days in the wilderness, resisting the temptation the devil puts before him, which we focus on in Lent. Jesus time in the wilderness was a time when he was preparing himself for the special and sacrificial ministry that lie ahead - an itinerant ministry in which Jesus and his followers were constantly on the move, not having the comforts of a proper home. And ultimately he would willingly be sacrificed on the Cross, for our sins.
We’re not Jesus, but his disciples are an example to us that we can aspire to live his way. We can follow him! If we focus on Jesus. If we try and live our lives alongside Jesus in the same vein as his disciples, then more and more of God’s nature will rub off on us. It’s a difficult journey, Jesus is honest about that. He says. ‘If anyone wants to become my followers, they must deny themselves, take up their Cross and follow me.’
But we don’t do that journey alone. Jesus made his journey to the cross and there he died for us. But the resurrected Jesus comes back along that path, to all who follow his way on that same journey from death to life. Indeed when we are baptized, we are baptized into the death of Christ, in order that we might share his risen life.
So yes the journey of being Jesus’ followers is tough at times. But it promises greater things to come.
So let us this Passiontide, accompany Jesus through his persecution, his arrest, his trial and his scourging. Let us accompany Jesus as he carries his cross, feeling its weight and sharing his humility. It’s still not too late, even if we have been lousy at giving things up or taking things on. But we really do have the chance to go through the passion with Jesus himself. Be close to the one who always desires to be close to us.
And in that closeness, in that relationship with Jesus, we have the anticipation and excitement of a resurrected everlasting life.
Amen

Fr Carl Peters

     The Clergy House
     Sawmill Lane,
     Brandon
     Durham
     DH7 8NS

     Tel: 0191 680 3875


Other Contact Telephone Numbers

Brandon, St. John's

Churchwarden - David 3789718
P.C.C. secretary - Denise 3781285

New Brancepeth, St. Catherine's

Reader – Liz – 3731554,
Churchwarden - Joe - 3739927

 

 

 

 

 

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