The Minister's Message for February
As the last Link published each year covers December and January I normally focus more on the preparations for Christmas rather than wishing everyone a happy New Year. By the time of February’s edition I’ve not wanted to seem like the guest who hasn’t found his way home from the New Year Party However, as I was preparing to write this piece I found reflecting on the very New Year theme of our being people with a past, a present and a future.
The church values the past e.g. the journey of Israel and the life of Jesus. We celebrate, sometimes we can be trapped in the history of a denomination or congregation. But we are paupers if we cannot reflect on the past – so in this edition, we have “diary entries” for Mary and Joseph on their Posada journey. Also on the details page towards the back of this edition, we have the name of Wendy Eveleigh (who died recently) in bold to mark the years she helped produce the Link.
Janus, after whom the first month of the year is named, was the god of beginnings and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces since he looks to the future and to the past. At the Carol service, we used a poem that can be read from top to bottom in the usual way or from the bottom top – the poem is included elsewhere in this edition.
With Easter being fairly early this year (April 1st) the present is a time for organising the season of preparation known as Lent.
On the first Sunday in Lent (February 18th) the morning services will include the opportunity to share in the “ashing” where a sign of the cross is made on our forehead with a mixture of ash and oil. The ash comes from burning Palm Crosses from last year then, in the service, we reflect on the pattern of our life since Palm Sunday/Easter. Many of our plans and intentions turn to dust so in the service we combine the reality of dust with the hope of the cross to step into the present. If you would like to contribute one or more old palm Crosses please bring them to the church by Monday, February 12th.
The title of our preaching series during Lent is “Singing the Easter story” and will use the seven verses of the hymn “My song is love unknown” (Hymns and Psalms 173) to mark the journey from the beginning of Lent to Easter Day. A leaflet with more details will be available soon.
This year there are ten Lenten groups that have been organised by Churches Together in Rustington. They are being held at different times of day in different venues and offer one of two sets of material. More details from the Church Office or myself.
The future is rooted in the past and linked to the present. So we give thanks for those who advertised the Lay Worker vacancy (past), we are delighted that Brigette Alexander (who has an article in this edition) is starting work in that post (present) and we pray for her and commit ourselves to work with her in the future.
May the God of all time be with us in the year ahead.
Rev Bob Sneddon