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Lenten Thoughts February 2018

Easter is only 8 weeks away and it seems only yesterday, we were taking down our Christmas decorations. As Victor Meldew would exclaim, “I don’t believe it!” As you all know Easter is determined as the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after the March equinox.

Talking of moons, have you seen the “Blue Moon these last few days? What a sight and how beautiful to see it rise over the horizon in my back garden. Binoculars at the ready and suitably clad, I went into my garden to view this phenomenon, which was spectacular. As they say, there is nothing like the real thing. Such sights simply remind me of God’s wonderful creation and how we sometimes miss it. Often when walking just the view of fields and hills will excite me and fill me with wonder. I can understand the romantic poets and artists who drew inspiration from such scenes.

I remember taking a group of scouts on the Mendips for a night hike and as we reached Black Down, we could see the lights of Bristol and Weston stretched out before us and one scout said, “Look at that, it’s better than staying in and watching TV”. That was music to my ears. Yet so many do not have those moments of awe and wonder, so many city dwellers look out on the neon lights of their urban sprawl, or inner-city side streets and can only see the limits of bricks and mortar, grey clad blocks of flats and little else.

Today, Pat and I took a little trip to Durham Park, where we walked down to the house and saw, snow drops, deer, the vastness of the views over South Gloucestershire and of course the tea rooms below us. It was cold, windy yet sunny and it again calmed our troubled minds, especially the tea and cake.

As we head into Lent we again can seek calmness to our troubled minds, to quietly reflect on our lives in the light of what Jesus Christ did for each one of us. To join a Lent Study Group, to read a religious or spiritual book, to be more prayerful, to set aside a time of day for stillness and hopefully listen to God and not to ourselves.

There are of course times in our lives, when we are surrounded by darkness, fear, anxiety and worry, which can have a detrimental effect on our spiritual lives and we find it hard to pray or be still yet alone have a sense of spirituality. The fears can become overbearing and becomes the object of our daily lives. These fears can emanate from family tragedy, illness, financial troubles, work or school problems, bullying, being accused of something you have not done, or perhaps something you have done, which you regret doing or saying. All of these issues can really get in the way of effectively communicating with our Father. I have found a prayer written by Rev Canon David Adam, a great religious writer and poet and for thirteen years was Vicar of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. I quote one of his prayers entitles, “Scatter the darkness”, which I have found helpful.

Come Lord, scatter the darkness within

Disperse the clouds of fear with your brightness

Dispel the mists of doubt with your radiance

Destroy the gloom of my mind with your shining

And let the light of your countenance enlighten me.

Rev John