FR JULIAN'S WEEKLY BLOG
It seems a strange and sad irony that the land of the Prince of Peace’s human life should continue to be torn asunder by violence, cruelty and warfare, with the added danger of the rupturing of accepted geo-political norms. ‘Twas ever the case. Remember that where Jesus lived was occupied by the Romans; their’s were the rules and the authority, which impinged greatly on the Jewish way of life and worship. That is why the Temple had money-changers; denarii were not accepted. And even the necessity of having to change currency was abused at the expense of the poor and vulnerable, resulting in a rare burst of anger from Jesus as he overturned the money-changers’ tables.
Then and today, it is those who are weakest who suffer the most. Refugees who have fled to Rafah for safety are now having to flee from it. Humanitarian agencies and hospitals are finding it impossible to work effectively, and many of us seem only to be able to look on with despair and grief. This is one reason why I have chosen a Lent Course by the charity, Embrace the Middle East. It looks at topics pertinent to the situation now based on scriptural texts, and written by women church leaders. I hope you will be able to come to the group on Thursdays at 7.30pm in the Vestry.
Next week sees the beginning of Lent. This will affect people in different ways, but I hope that for everyone it will mean serious and realistic review of how we lead our spiritual lives through the observing of the three basic principles of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is for these reasons that we have a fairly full Lenten programme here at Holy Trinity, including additional services (prayer), Lent boxes (almsgiving) and the encouragement of personal disciplines in respect of food and/or drink. These are not intended to make life even more miserable!
Lent is a time for growth. Just as there are signs of spring around us, so the apparently dead earth begins to show growth. Sometimes our spiritual lives can seem to be wintry: dark and absence of growth, so with a little application and a dressing of faith, even the most seemingly barren patch can begin to sprout. Lent is a time of encouragement not punishment, and as we travel through this holy season, so through prayer, almsgiving and fasting, we may recover or renew a vibrant spiritual life
with comparatively little effort. So I encourage you all to think and pray about what to do, and actually do it and stick to it. Begin by coming to Mass at 7.30pm on Ash Wednesday!