Minister's Letter

Spot the symbol - February 18th, 2018

Dear Friends,

Three or four times a year I get in the post a small publication with a riveting title: Maintenance and Equipment News for Churches and Schools.  If you want to know all about church noticeboards, audio-visual equipment, heating systems and conservation programmes for churches this is the magazine to read.  I usually just have a look at the crossword, which is nigh-on impossible and requires a phenomenal knowledge of the Old Testament and of every obscure name in the book to complete.  Last time I also had a go at the Spot the Symbol X competition.  This requires you to spot an X hidden in one of the many adverts.  The good news is I won!  The prize however still has not arrived, but one day it will, I am sure.

Lent has now begun.  It’s a strange time of the year.  You may find yourself wanting to give something up, take something on or do any number of holistic programmes which check your spiritual temperature.  Without wanting to deride the wisdom of the ages too much I do wonder whether this trivialises Lent a little.

It strikes me that it’s more of an opportunity to spot the cross.  Whatever obscure or fashionable thing you are reading where is the Cross?  Where does it fit in?  With all the things going on in your life what does the Jesus who died on the cross have to say to you?  With all that’s going on in the world what does this extraordinary event of the Cross, on which Jesus suffered and died, illuminate and draw our attention to?

Lent in the end is not so much about practices of self-denial, however good they are; it’s a time when we prepare to celebrate the Cross and the Resurrection.  And if we are attuned to trying to spot the Cross today we might well be in a better place when Good Friday and Easter come round to appreciate it.  Don’t expect any prizes though, other than the joy and surprise of seeing the Cross in ways you have not seen it before.


Mark 1: 14-15

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’

A prayer:  

Lord, good news and ‘cross’ seem hard to put together, even now.  It was not good for you.  But there seems to be a note of joy and excitement in the way you say the time has come.  I suppose you believed there was simply no place where God’s love could not be experienced.  Are you sure about that?  Your cross stands and speaks about our Father in a way other things fall short.  Make my time today count. Amen.

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