Thursday, 2 March 2017

Lent - Repentance and Discipline

Wednesday, 1st March was the beginning of the forty days of Lent. For St Pauls, that was marked by taking part in the “Imposition of Ashes” service held at St Peters.

The service was led by Michael Rusk, the rector, who will soon be leaving us to serve at Emmanuel Church Geneva.

The sermon was given by Steve Bailey. He reminded us that in the sermon on the Mount, Jesus talked about when you pray, when you fast and when you give. These are all actions often associated with Lent, and Jesus assumed that they would be taking place. Steve commented that people often speak of what they will give up for Lent, but he felt that it was equally important what they would be taking up for Lent; prayer, fasting and giving. And he made particular suggestions for using the time that would be freed by fasting, and for giving the money that would be saved by fasting. He suggested at the time saved could not only be used for prayer also for devotional reading and he recommended Archbishop Justin Welby’s Lent book: “Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace.”

“Imposition of Ashes” then followed. As people came to the front, Steve marked each person on their forehead with a sign of the cross, using Ashes mixed with Oil; a sign both of the importance of the cross and our own frailty. As he did this, he used the words: “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ.”