We may not be physically together in our buildings at the moment but there is still plenty to choose from to mark the season of Lent this year.
A service to mark Ash Wednesday, including an act of Holy Communion and a virtual imposition of ashes, will be available on our YouTube channel – you can click here to watch it from 6pm on Ash Wednesday. You can download the liturgy by clicking here to help you to follow along.
Archbishops’ call to prayer
In an open letter to the nation, marking the COVID-19 deathtoll in the UK reaching 100,000, our Archbishops recently called on the whole national to take a moment to pause, reflect and pray at 6pm each evening:
“One thing we can all do is pray. We hope it is some consolation to know that the church prays for the life of our nation every day. Whether you’re someone of faith, or not, we invite you to call on God in prayer. Starting on 1 February we invite you to set aside time every evening to pray, particularly at 6pm each day. More than ever, this is a time when we need to love each other. Prayer is an expression of love.”Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell, Letter to the nation, January 2021
Take Time meditations with Helen
Taketime meditations are all about using your imagination to provide a calm, comfortable space in which to meet God. Our own Helen Scott recently trained as a TakeTime Practitioner and she will be leading a short meditation, via Zoom on Wednesday evenings during Lent, which anyone is welcome to join.
Each meditation is inspired by the stories of Jesus in the days leading up to his crucifixion. Helen describes them as: “An opportunity to pause in the busyness of life, to quieten your mind and allow your spirit some sanctuary. I love the meditations, and have found a new depth to my faith through using them myself.”
Each session on Zoom will take place on Wednesday evenings at 8.30pm for around 20 minutes with the first session on Weds 24th February. You can choose whether to show your face on screen or turn your camera off and just listen. Sessions will run each Wednesday for the 6 weeks of Lent and it’s fine to attend just one or two sessions, or all 6, as you wish.
To join, click the Zoom link here at 8.30pm on Wednesdays or go into Zoom and enter the following meeting ID: 850 8652 1390
Lent Godly Play for all House Group
If you like to wonder and to create, then Mandy Thorlby will be running some vitrual Home Group sessions during Lent and showing that Godly Play is not just for children!
Godly play is all about focussing on a story from the Bible, taking some time to think and reflect and respond in prayer and also having the space, if you wish, to respond creatively by making something – this might be something really simple, like colouring something in, or it might be creating something extraordinary! You can, of course, just use the creating time to sit and think and be quiet too. There’s also an opportunity for a chat over a beveridge of preference at the end, even if virtually!
The sessions will run via Zoom on Thursday evenings at 7.30pm on March 4, 11 and 18 and, if you’d like to take part, please get in touch with Mandy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhythm of Life
Rhythm of Life is a venture from our diocese which is inspired by the work of religions communities and a verse from Matthew 11:29 where Jesus encourages his disciples to learn from him – in The Message translation: ‘Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.’
Rhythm of Life is about stopping to take stock – what Lent is about in many ways – and then making one or more practical commitments to introduce new rhythms into our lives in one or more key areas: praying, encouraging, sharing, reflecting, celebrating, resting and creating.
We will be focussing on some of these themes in our Sunday worship during Lent and you can find out more about the Rhythm of Life venture on the Diocesan website by clicking here.
There is also a Diocesan-wide Lent course taking place online on the theme, or you can download resources to follow the course for yourself – there is more about this on the diocesan Digital Leanting Platform here.
Finally, if you would like to set aside time each day during Lent to spend time with God and have a book to follow to help you with this, you can get lots of ideas and inspiration from the Church House Publishing website here. or from the Eden website here (a kind of version of Amazon for Christian books!)
Recommendations include: Living his Story – revealing the extraordinary love of God in ordinary Ways (Hannah Steele) published by SPCK. This is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2021 and focuses on liberating and practical ways of share the gospel story afresh, living Jesus’ story in our own lives simply by being the people God made us and allowing people to be drawn to him through our natural gifts. Set out in six sessions to take you through Lent, each chapter can be used as a single study for individuals or small groups to prepare for Easter.
There are lots of others to choose from though – dive in and have a look!