Church News February 2015
Lent this year begins on the 18th February 2015 which is just a few weeks away. I wanted to point this up for us, as this year we will be running a Lent Course based on St Benedict and exploring our faith. This Lent Course will be held on Monday lunch times from 12-2pm beginning on Monday 23rd February and we will be serving soups, cheese and fresh bread and we hope to feed not only our bodies but also our souls and our minds as well as we look at and ponder of God’s gift of faith to his people. These meetings will take place each week at a home within the Benefice and you will be able to sign up for the course as there will be a list in each church for you to append your name.
Just to remind us what is Lent? Lent is a forty-day season that initiates the most sacred part of the Christian year. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on the Great Vigil of Easter. Sundays are not included in the forty-day count because every Sunday is a joyful celebration of our Lord’s resurrection. During Lent, Christians meditate on the great paschal mystery — the salvation God won for us sinners by the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The word Lent is derived from the Old English lencten, which means “lengthen.” It refers to the lengthening of the daylight hours that occurs in the northern hemisphere as spring approaches. It is in this period of transition from late winter to early spring that the season of Lent falls.
The duration of the season of Lent is based on the ancient church custom of lencten, and fasting before being baptized on the evening before Easter. This Probationary period was called the quarantine (from the Latin word for forty). The number forty occurs frequently in both testaments of the Bible. It signifies the time that is required for discipline, testing, and separation prior to achieving a goal or new beginning. For example, we read in the Old Testament that it rained forty days and nights during the Great Flood. Moses communed with God on Mount Sinai for forty days before receiving the Ten Commandments the people of Israel were forced to wander in the wilderness for forty years, Elijah journeyed for forty days before he reached Mount Horeb and had a vision of God and the inhabitants of Nineveh fasted and repented for forty days in response to the preaching of Jonah. The outstanding instances of the number forty in the New Testament are the account of Christ’s ordeal in the desert fasting, praying, and being tempted by the devil and His various appearances to the apostles and others between His resurrection and Ascension during which He strengthened their faith and prepared them for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Please remember to book in to the Benefice Lent Course. There will be limited numbers so please put your name on the lists that will be in each church with information of where the course will be being held. It will also be on the pew sheet.