Please find below a link to our February 2021 magazine:
The magazine includes a tribute to Jess Dewhirst, who died on Advent Sunday 2020. Jess knitted and nattered, but not necessarily in that order. There are also prayers and reflections, an article on the 250th celebration at St John with St Mark’s and a piece on real Easter eggs. There’s also this letter from our Vicar, Dave Thompson…
The Day of Ashes
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. But why “Ash” Wednesday? The reason has to do with the process of restoring our relationship with God and the tradition goes right back to the Old Testament.
When the Israelites sinned and wished to put things right with God, their repentance involved a real sense of sorrow. They mourned for the damage and evil they had done. As part of this repentance process, they covered their heads with ashes. This was an outward sign of their heart-felt acknowledgement of sin. In Genesis Chapter 18 verse 27, Abraham accepts that he needs to speak to the Lord, “….I who am but dust and ashes.”
This practice was taken up by the very early Christian Church with believers having ashes sprinkled over them at the beginning of Lent as a sign of their penitence and mourning for the sins they had committed. This occasion became known as the “day of the ashes” and in time “Ash Wednesday.”
Whether we are holding services on a Sunday or not – which will be dependent on the lockdown situation – there will be Communion services in church on Ash Wednesday (February 17).
Open ourselves again
The beginning of Lent invites us to resist the pressure of the passing moment; to acknowledge those parts of our life which have become stale and to open ourselves again to the gift that Christ longs to bestow upon us – newness of life.
This is all combined in the words of the Ash Wednesday Collect, which we are encouraged to say daily during the whole season:
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent:
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
May God guide you and bless you during the season of Lent.
With best wishes,
Stay Safe, Dave
The great photos of a snowy St John with St Mark’s and Christ Church Walmersley are courtesy of The Journey Production House. Our December and January magazine can be found by following this link.