River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Church Of England

February 2002

The Rector's letter for February

February sees the start of Lent with Ash Wednesday on 13th. Lent is often seen as a negative time, a time when we go round with glum faces and give up something nice like chocolate or wine. Lent is a serious time, but it should never be negative. Lent is a time to tackle the serious business in preparation for the celebrations of Easter. It is the spiritual and moral equivalent of a spring clean.

Lent begins with gratitude. Gratitude to God for life, love, creation and existence itself. During Lent we also accept that the world, is not perfect. Our gratitude to God then leads us to examine ourselves to find out how much of this imperfection is down to us, our thoughts, words and actions. So by taking all this seriously we can focus our energies towards moving ourselves and our world a little closer to the perfection God wills for all creation.

The "Ash" of Ash Wednesday comes from the burning of the previous years palm crosses. Jesus' triumphant welcome has not lasted long and the palms are burned to remind us of our and humanities fickleness. The ash is a traditional sign of penitence. Here it signifies our acceptance of our part in the failings of the world and our acceptance of our own personal failings. The ash also reminds us of our own frailty and mortality. It is this personal honesty which is a mark of Lent. Lent is the time to seek spiritual healing. Through becoming more aware of our strengths and failings we become more able to work with God for the good of all.

On a very different note I would like to thank all of you in these parishes for your encouragement during my time of study at UEA in Norwich. In December I finally completed the course with a Viva examination and shortly before Christmas was informed that I had been awarded a distinction for my master of science degree in Environmental Impact Assessment, Auditing and Management Systems. I am very grateful to you and glad to be able to use these skills from within the structures of the Church.

I wish you every blessing and a productive Lent,

Revd Nigel Tuffnell

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