A Reflection for the Beginning of Lent

Tomorrow we begin a journey. It starts with ash and ends with fire.

The wrong way around?

Today the Rectory smells of burnt palm crosses. The crosses waved in celebration last year, turned into dark, fibrous ash. And tomorrow as we gather in Shrewton we will reflect on those ancient words ‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return’.

But early on 1st April we will stand in the darkness outside the doors of Orcheston St Mary lit by the Easter fire. We will carry a new Paschal Candle into the dark church declaring ‘The Light of Christ! Thanks be to God!’.

Our journey is from death to life, ash to fire, desolation to hope.

We will walk together in the coming weeks. As in every ordinary community across the world we will welcome new children, and say a last farewell to loved ones. We will baptise and we will bury, we will be grasped by the fierce grip of a newborn child, and we will gently let go of the dying.

Our daily lives are full of such transitions, often so small and insignificant they pass us by.

This year, why not take a moment to note them? The sunset and the morning, the dawn chorus and the dusk, the snowdrops’ dying back and the arrival of the trees in bud.

Jesus said ‘ Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12.24).’

During Lent we enter in. We walk the dry, challenging desert, we experience ending and grief, we remember that we are dust.

But come the Easter dawn, we will see the fire of new life and hope.

Join us this Lent, and enter in.

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