If you marked Valentine’s Day this year, I wonder if you got the right date?? Lent began on Ash Wednesday, which this year fell on Februaury14th. I am reliably informed that it is 73 years since Ash Wednesday last fell on 14th February and in such circumstances, Ash Wednesday takes precedence and St. Valentine’s Day should be moved to 15th February! Did you know that? Did greeting card manufacturers?The church calendar can throw up some thought-provoking situations: for example What do we say about Easter falling on Aril 1st? Perhaps we turn to St Paul, who wrote that the crucifixion (God’s wisdom) is folly to those who take themselves too seriously (my paraphrase). Cannot the same be said of the Resurrection?The origins of April Fools’ day are obscure, with some traditions linking it to Mackerel Harvest and others claiming it’s when Jesus began preaching... If being followers of Jesus and believing in the Resurrection makes us appear to the world as Foolish, remember that it was the Court Jester who, through humour, would show the monarch and others the error of their own deeds in the Medieval court - the Jester is the prophet, with a role to play.Whether or not you feel the church being called to be prophetic today, it would be wise to check some diary dates for the weeks ahead.The whole of March falls into Lent and we’re running the Hope Lent course in two locations- Crick and Creaton. The course is enriched by contributions from people involved with the prison service and willI’m sure offer us new perspectives on our Bible Studies. Each will stand alone so please feel free to join us even just for one session.Shalom, SalaamElizabeth
Shredders When you close an account, there are things you should do. First you must destroy (cut-up, or shred) any plastic card associated with your account; then you have the statements to dispose of. Cross- Shredding ensures that your personal finances are rendered fit for pet rodent bedding, or some clever moulded insulation. No one can steal your identity if your old card and statements are minced up. I was feeding pages of old statements from the past ten years into the shredder, when it struck me what a good parable shredding is for the act of forgiveness. As long as old statements (old letters and other documents) linger in a folder somewhere, they have the potential of being powerful. A reminder of an injustice- a turning back of pages to wonder what might have been... and whilst those “documents” are around, they can still pop up from the past and do damage. Forgiveness doesn’t say “that event wasn’t wrong”, but it does say “I am not letting that event from the past remain and poison my present and future”. When God forgives us it doesn’t mean our wrong doings were not inappropriate, ill-judged or harmful, but God says to us in effect: ”I am not going to hold these past events between you whom I love, and myself- I’m taking the potency of those events out of our relationship”. During these next few weeks we will be invited to celebrate God’s greatest gift- sharing life with us, being born among us: we’ll also be taking down old calendars and putting away old diaries, to begin a new year with all it’s potential.