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The 4Points.com logo Group Pastoral Letter for
February 2018
Feasting, fasting; searching, hiding.
 
No sooner have we packed away the nativity scene, our face turn towards Jesus Passion. In a matter of weeks, we seem to have fast forwards through Jesus whole life and ministry, to find ourselves at the start of the end.
 
Or so it seems when Lent begins in February, on the 14th with Ash Wednesday – a day for some filled with hearts and roses, while for others it is a day of ash crosses and repentance, and for others it is just another day.
 
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, February is a strange little month, little because it is shorter than the rest, and strange with its transient extra day. Although when you look at the month in a calendar it still spreads across 5 weeks – starting mid-week and ending mid-week. For some in our community it will bring light relief with a half term holiday, while for other it will not feel any different from any other month.
 
As Christians February, this year, marks a significant change in our calendar. As we transition from the seeking, wondering journey of the Magi’s; the seasons of Epiphany, of light that leads the way. Into a season of repentance, wandering through wilderness as we examine our lives and faith journey as we consider the cost of Jesus’ walk to the cross.
 
Our transition Sunday is signposted in the Transfiguration - the Magi’s star becomes Christ at the top of the mountain, the connecting point, acting as a bridge between heaven and earth. As God speaks words which take us back to the words spoken at Jesus Baptism, our narrative begins to link together. Time and space coincide with God’s kingdom; as Moses and Elijah join Jesus at the top of the mountain life and death, as we know it, is suspended; once more a glimpse of the promise to come, the promise of eternal life.
 
As we enter into this season of examination, may Jesus be our guide, our shining star to lead us along the dark paths, the crowded streets and onto the lonely hillside. Helping us to know:
God Loves Me!
Even though I have sinned Jesus Died for me I need to decide to live for God
 
May God go with you,
Samantha

picture of the Archangel Gabriel at Buscot Parish Church, taken by Lawrence on 29th Jan 2009.

picture of the Archangel Gabriel at Buscot Parish Church, taken by Lawrence on 29th Jan 2009.

Group Pastoral Letter for
March 2018

 
You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord,
‘My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.’ …
… For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and
the serpent you will trample under foot.
Those who love me, I will deliver;
I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honour them…

Psalm 91.1-2 and 11-15


In the season of Lent we often focus on Jesus time in the wilderness, the 40 days of wandering and testing. Reflecting on our own faith journey of the times when we have wandered away from God, tempted by the ‘devil’ or felt lost and alone. We use this time as a time of preparation, a time of repentance as we journey towards the cross; bearing witness to Jesus Passion and lingering in the darkness of night before the bright dawn of a new day.


But let us pause for a moment and remember Jesus was not alone in the wilderness, just as Jesus was not alone on that frightful walk through Jerusalem to Golgotha.


When Jesus was in times of trouble, times of temptation, God’s presence was known.


At the end of Jesus time in the wilderness, we are told in two of our Gospels – Matthew and Mark – that angels came and waited upon him. While in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus found the strength to walk to the cross – strength which can only come from God Almighty.


Maybe a part of Lent is also about acknowledging where God’s angels are at work in your life, to see where they have held you up. When you have been at your lowest, are going through tough and testing times, what or who helped you through, helped you to keep going and not give up or turn away?


God’s angels live within our midst, in the kindness of a stranger, in the embrace of a friend, often going unnoticed hidden in plain sight.


As we examine our own lives, taking stock of our discipleship and faithful commitment to God’s Kingdom, may we also notice those who have been at work within and around us. Those who have been as God to us, sharing our burdens, and give thanks for the angels of this world.

May the grace of God be with you at this time,

Samantha

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Updated: 16-Feb-2018  
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