Team Rector's Letter March 2019

rectorstroudwater@gmail.com                      The Rectory, Church Lane

07466 858 975                                                Leonard Stanley, GL10 3NP

                                               

MARCH 2019

I am sitting in my study on Valentine’s Day writing this letter. It’s an interesting day, Valentine’s day. Like so many Christian festivals which are rooted in self-sacrifice, faith and simplicity, Valentine’s Day has also evolved into an expression of excess and expectation. Fortunately I have a low maintenance wife and we don’t pay too much attention to anniversaries and Valentine’s Day, I get off lightly.

We need these moments in our lives though, when we celebrate relationships and love. So many of us are trying our best to keep going day to day, and moments like Valentine’s Day are a prompt to remember that there are people around us who love us and need to be valued by us.

 

In a few short weeks we will enter into a season in the life of the church which holds profound meaning for us. Lent is the six week lead up to Easter and is marked by intentional simplicity and self-examination. Just as Valentine’s Day is a reminder to value those we love, so Lent and Easter are a golden opportunity to remind ourselves that we worship a God who loves us completely and sacrificially.

I am reminded of John 3:16 where the Apostle summarises the Gospel story in a profound verse, ‘God loved the world so much, that He sent His Son Jesus, and if we believe in Him we will receive eternal life’. God loves you, Jesus came to share Father God’s heart with you and we receive that through faith and trust in Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself on the Cross.

 It may seem strange that we show our love for our husbands and wives and partners with chocolates and flowers, and yet we show our love for God with self-denial. It would be strange if we observed Lent and Easter with a depressive kind of faith, ‘Woe is me, I am an awful person’.

That isn’t the spirit of Lent though. We come into it knowing we are loved and valued by God, that we are His precious children. The background music of Lent isn’t a dirge but a quietly joyful song of deep gratitude. Out of that gratitude to God we seek to quieten the noise of our lives so that the Holy Spirit can speak to us of God’s love and how we can shape our lives around that love.

Rev Stephen Harrison