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Vicar's Musings for Lent 1

18 February, 2018

"Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy"
Pope Francis.

How is your Lenten observance going? Are you awakening this year to the poignancy of this ancient Christian observance, or at least open to it? We are just five days along our Lenten journey, but already a number of parishioners have said to me that Lent feels a bit different this year. Yes, it's early, but they have also described a particular solemnity in their spirit; a sense of urgency and importance.

Today at St Peter's we are launching a Lenten sermon and discussion series: "Friends and Companions: Books that Have Shaped Our Theology." Most of us have at least a few books of theology on our bookshelves; some of us have thousands! For me, these books and their authors have been very real friends and companions along the often-rocky and challenging path of my spiritual life as a Christian. They have shaped my theology and formed the way I see God and exercise ministry. So, a few weeks ago, I put out the challenge to five other leaders in our St Peter's church community — lay and ordained — and I asked them to preach a sermon and then lead a Lenten discussion group for an hour after High Mass. I am delighted that they all rose to the challenge, and this is what the next few weeks have in store for us: sermons at 9.30am and 11.00am, followed by a discussion group from 1.15pm to 2.15pm in the Parish Hall. Come and join us!

  • Lent 1 — Carol O'Connor — Rowan Williams, "Silence and Honeycakes"
  • Lent 2 — Nick Browne — Ursula le Guin, "A Wizard of Earthsea"
  • Lent 3 — Fr Philip — Rowan Williams, "Being Christian"
  • Laetare Sunday — Colleen Clayton — Richard Rohr, "Dancing Standing Still"
  • Lent 5 — Fr Greg — Stephen Chalke, "Redeeming the Cross"
  • Palm Sunday — Fr Hugh — Julian of Norwich, "A Revelation of Love"

Copies of a chapter from each of these texts have been compiled into a Lenten Study Text, which will be handed out to everyone at Mass, and copied will be available at the Welcome Table and at the back of Church. For those unable to come to Mass, phone Kosta in the Parish Office, and he will mail you a copy.

For those of you who are available on Wednesday afternoons, do come and join us at the Vicarage each week at 2.30pm during Lent. We are studying a very accessible, yet deeply meaningful book on prayer by Luigi Gioia, a Benedictine monk and professor of Theology: Say it to God: in Search of Prayer. Or if you can't come to our meetings, why not get a copy of the book from Carol and her team in the Bookroom? And for those unable to come into Mass, Carol will happily mail you a copy.

May this Lent be a time of awakening for all of us.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

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