Monthly Archives: February 2017

Anointing of Ash

Lent begins with our Ash Wednesday worship on March 1st.
There will be a Eucharist at both 10am and 8pm.
Also a children’s Eucharist at 6.30pm
All will include the Anointing of Ash.

Christians traditionally begin this holy season with the Anointing of ash
which symbolises the vulnerable side of our human nature.
The anointing acknowledges our need of God
and God’s great love for us.
By being anointed with ash we humbly place ourselves in God’s hands,
confidant of God’s love and mercy.
We admit that we often get it wrong and say sorry,
and open ourselves to receive the forgiveness that God so freely gives.
The ash is also mixed with holy oil which symbolises
that not only are we vulnerable but also beautiful in God’s sight.
While we are so readily aware of our vulnerability
and our ability to mess up,
we are reminded that God sees beyond that
to the person he created us to be.
So Lent begins in a positive way with God reaching out,
picking us up, and saying:
“You are my son, you are my daughter, in you I am delighted.”

Welcome to our Lenten Blog for 2017
The theme for this year’s Lenten reflections is:
40 Shades of Prayer
Beginning Wednesday 1st March there will be daily reflections posted.

This Lent I invite you to join me on an exploration of prayer.
To ask what prayer is – what it means to you –
what shape it takes in your life;
or what shape it might take in your life.
I find as a priest talking with people about their prayer lives,
that prayer can be for many a cause of anxiety, guilt, and frustration.
We all would like to have a good and positive relationship with prayer
but lots of us find that instead of it being a source of joy and strength
it just makes us feel inadequate because we feel we are just not very good at it.

During this Lent I would like to encourage us to look at prayer differently.
Not as a measuring stick of how good we are at being a Christian,
not something we feel we ought to do or find time for,
not something that adds an extra burden to our lives,
but to look at prayer for what it truly is
as part of a loving relationship we can share with God and others.

You see, there is no such thing at being good or bad at prayer.
Whether we realise it or not, prayer is simply a natural part of life, like breathing;
we do it naturally without really being conscious of it.
We are often praying when we do not even realise that we are.
The problem is we can have such a narrow perspective of what prayer actually is,
that beautiful moments of prayer pass us by because we are not aware that we are praying.

In our first reflection on Ash Wednesday we are reminded by Brother David Steindl-Rast
that prayer is not just something we do but is an attitude towards life.
it is not about saying lots of prayers, it is about living prayerfully.
Prayer is not so much about a set routine we have at certain times of the day or week
but is part of every moment of every day.
We are not called to be spiritual super heroes,
we are called to live ordinary lives prayerfully.

Prayer is an attitude towards life,
an attitude of living the whole of our life in relationship with God.
In relationship with love.
Prayer is as much about a conversation we may have with a colleague at work,
The way we respond to an incident in the day
or the way we relate to the person who serves us in the local shop or supermarket,
as it is about “saying prayers” or meditating in silence.

Our forms of prayer are important but only in relation to how we live the rest of our lives.
There is no point in being a great orator of prayers if we do not live our lives prayerfully,
there is no point in being a faithful meditator
if it does not impact upon our attitude to others.
prayer and life are one, they are part of each other, they feed each other.
The whole point of prayer is to help us live prayerfully,
To live our lives with God, for God, and in God.

I hope this Lenten reflections will help us to broaden our experience of prayer,
and challenge our thinking to what prayer actually is.
And, more than anything, I hope it will help us to realise
that prayer is a very natural part of all our lives,
and help us discover moments of prayer and communion in all of our daily activities.

May God bless our Lenten journey together
and may we begin to recognise the many shades of prayer that fill our days