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March2018

MARCH 2018 A Letter from

MARCH 2018 A Letter from the Rector Dear Friends, This Lent we have three Lent groups running across the week following the “Live Lent: Let Your Light Shine!” - the Church of England’s Lent Course. During the five weeks we are exploring John’s Gospel, and are reminded that God’s rescue mission is to bring us from darkness to light. This is the work of Jesus - the light of the world - the Saviour of the world. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:10-11). The greatest gift that Jesus offers is life. The life he brings is generous and joyful, it is liberating and purposeful. It is a life lived to the full and overflows to bring life to others. Jesus, himself turns to his followers and says, “You are the light of the world….so let your light shine”. To witness is to let your light shine. A light shines out into the darkness. We have been brought into his light, now he appoints us to bring his light to others. This is what witness is. As we journey through Lent, a time of personal reflection and self examination, the course is encouraging us to explore what the gift of Jesus and the challenge of Jesus means for us today as we live our daily lives. As Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”. Each session ends with a list of individual challenges that we can choose from. The list includes challenges such as consciously making space for somebody this week, praying for all those who today are waiting for help or healing or take time to get to know somebody better. In responding to the challenge we can let our light shine in our everyday lives so it reaches those around us. The challenge encourages us to take hold of God’s gift of life and live it - to the full. God offers us this life for the sake of others. The light he gives us in Jesus Christ is not to be hidden, but to shine - it’s a gift to be lived and shared. God bless Rev Steve 4

MARCH 2018 A Letter from the Bishop Dear Friends, The words ‘How can this be?’ seem to me to be hovering in the air a great deal at the moment. ‘How can this be’ that we are so close to the date of leaving the EU and we don’t know precisely what is happening yet? ‘How can this be’ that I’ve paid my stamp all these years and all I hear about is hospitals and schools under huge stress? ‘How can this be’ that every year the trees seem to burst into bud a few days earlier than they did last year, but that many people cannot accept the evidence that says that this is as a result of human impact on the climate? These and so many other versions of the question buzz around in my mind and heart – as do the very prosaic ones of human living that in different ways we each face – and in my case: ‘How can this be’ that my parents, who have been reasonably well physically to this point, suddenly seem now to be failing so rapidly? ‘How can this be?’ These are big questions and real questions. They affect different parts of our lives. They require us to draw on deep sources of strength. They can depress us or energise us. They can encourage us to reach out to others for support, and they can also make us want to hide and to turn in on ourselves. And where is God in it all? I don’t underestimate the impact of these words and of their underlying and related questions. However, as the words and questions gather, in the month of March at least I am comforted by the fact that as the 25th approaches, I can draw strength from the example of one amazing woman who has trodden the human path before us. The 25th of March is the Feast of the Annunciation, which is the day on which Mary was told the news that she would bear a child who would be Son of God – and not surprisingly, she exclaimed ‘How can this be?’ (Luke 1.34) If Mary asked this question, then I think I am in good company if, on occasion, I ask it myself as well. ‘How can this be?’ And once it had been explained to Mary that if she said ‘yes’, she was to enact God’s will, then Mary did indeed summon her strength and courage and love and obedience, and having expressed her incredulity, proceeded to bring about God’s purpose for her and for the world. She could have said ‘no’. However, she said ‘let it be so’, and thus a new chapter opened in the life of God’s creation. …..continued on page 6 5

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