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From our Team Rector, Rev’d. David Sherwood              March, 2016

I am writing at the beginning of February but by the time you read this, we will be well into Lent and approaching the beginning of Spring. Both of these seasons are times of preparation and renewal. In Lent we draw closer to God, learning more about him and preparing to celebrate the joy of Easter Day and all that Jesus has done for us. And Spring is the natural season of renewal when we welcome the longer days and the opportunity to get back outside and nurture our gardens back to new life. Not that they need our help, they are quite capable of doing it all on their own! But, we have our own ideas about how they should look and will hack, prod, dig and mow them into submission – because we are the ones in control and want it done our way.

This spring season of renewal is not just about nature refreshing itself, it’s also an opportunity for us to be refreshed too. Part of that refreshment will come from moving from the bare season of winter into the splendour of spring and the joy it brings to our senses. But what about our internal refreshment? What about spring cleaning the baggage we all carry around with us? That’s what Lent is all about and I’d like to share this short piece by Frances Copsey which looks at our internal refreshment from God’s point of view.
‘I know you are angry’, says God.
‘Your silence screams.
So get real,
be your hidden self with me;
the one that is not nice, not nice at all.
Don’t be embarrassed, bawl if you want to.
Kick and pout like a child; I like children.
Yes, poo, tantrums and all, since you ask.
So when someone says, ‘Let us pray…’
Knot your arms and mutter ‘Shan’t!’
If it helps,
it’s where you are now.
And where you are is exactly where I want to be too.
With you.’ *

We are all like that, at least some of the time. To say that we aren’t, is to deny our humanity. And our humanity is important to God. He wants us to enjoy it. He wants us to flourish naturally, like our gardens, so he doesn’t hack, prod and dig us into submission. He wants us to have control over our own lives but at the same time, to allow him to be there with us.

During Lent and Easter, we remember that Jesus came to reacquaint us with God and that through the mystery of his death and resurrection, has freed us from the fear of death and opened the way for us be with God forever. Jesus said, ‘I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.’ But we can’t have that fullness of life unless we ditch the ‘baggage’ first.
So,                                 ‘Don’t be embarrassed, bawl if you want to.
Kick and pout like a child.’

Tell God how you feel, invite him to come and sit beside you, complain about the things that are bugging you, get it off your chest! Then have a conversation with his Son. Tell Jesus how you feel too, thank him for setting you free and invite him to be part of your new, abundant life. And he will, bringing the Holy Spirit to guide and support you and to help develop that eternal relationship between you and God.

I do hope that these seasons of Lent and Spring will bring you refreshment and renewal and that you will know the love and peace of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always.
With all good wishes, David Sherwood.

*Frances Copsey. p103 ‘Eggs & Ashes’. Wild Goose Publications