The month of March is wholly incorporated into the church’s season of Lent. March is also regarded as the beginning of spring. It officially starts at the spring equinox on March 20th. As we move past the 20th of March the days become longer than the nights and it should, in theory, start to warm up as we approach summer. As it warms up the trees and plants spring back into life.
As we talk about spring, I remember the idea of spring cleaning. Everything gets a good clean, from beating the dust out of rugs to washing the curtains. I am not sure whether the warmer weather makes such cleaning more practical or perhaps with the brighter light, things look like they need a good clean. It is a chance to get to neglected areas of the house over the winter months. Lent is rather like a spring clean. It is a chance to examine ourselves and our lives and see what needs doing to bring us more in line with God. Putting things right or cleaning up part of our lives or relationships are tremendously important. Sadly, if they are left unattended they can become very corrosive and cause more hurt and damage. Lent reminds us, now is the time to get things sorted and put right. Lent is not just introspective, it is also outward looking for areas to help out in. Perhaps we can help someone else or start up something we have been putting off for a while. As we look forward to spring and a fresh start, we start to become optimistic and there is real change. It is important to use this enthusiasm wisely because it can so easily be lost in unexpected difficulties. A recurring theme in the Bible is God’s concern for people who are often neglected and forgotten by society. It is often simple deeds of kindness and generosity on our part, that allows God to reveal his love to those on the fringes of our society.
Rector’s Sabbatical Leave
Sabbatical means a ceasing or a rest from work. The foundational Bible passage forsabbatical concepts is in Genesis where God rested (literally, “ceased” from his labour) after creating the universe. After ten years of service in the church, you can apply for a sabbatical. I will have completed twenty-three years of service in June this year. Some people take the opportunity of doing something completely different like doing some research, writing a book or completing a pilgrimage. I will be trying to follow the biblical model of taking a rest.In March I will return from my pilgrimage to the place of my birth in Chile. The last time I was in Chile was 1972, so I will return some fifty-one years later. I am on sabbatical leavefrom 1st Jan to 31st March. The churchwardens will be the first point of contact for church matters.