SAYING NO & SAYING YES
As you know, on this day, millions of Christians around the world engage in the ancient ritual known as “the imposition of ashes.” The practice of using ashes as a sign of penitence goes back to the Hebrew people (“sack-cloth and ashes”). Christian use of the ashes goes back to the 2nd century, and it was widely practised by the 5th century.
Ash Wednesday begins the forty-day journey of Lent between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is intended to set the believer on a sobering time of self-examination and repentance, in preparation for the renewal of faith one might receive in the observance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the supreme feast of Easter.
Many Christians try to take this time seriously. Churches almost go into a time of mourning, even though Sundays are always “Feast Days”. Traditionally we don’t sing the ‘Gloria’, we don’t have flowers etc – all intended to give the great contrast when Easter joy bursts in! Mothering Sunday come in mid-Lent, often referred to as “Refreshment Sunday”.
by Revd Alan Price
Sensational headlines telling us of the latest atrocities performed by Islamic State or other extreme Islamist groups are becoming so frequent, we almost take them for granted. Whilst it must be remembered that more Muslims have been killed than Christians, in this article I want to consider the problem faced by fellow-Christians.
Persecution of Christians can be traced historically based on the biblical account of Jesus in the 1st century AD to the present time. Early Christians were persecuted for their faith at the hands of both Jews from whose religion Christianity arose and the Roman Empire which controlled much of the land across which early Christianity was distributed. Early in the 4th century, Christianity was legalized, eventually becoming the State church of the Roman Empire.
PENTECOST – the Celebration of the Gift of the Holy Spirit
and some thoughts from Rev Carol Price
What would it have been like for Jesus’ friends after he went back to heaven, I wonder? When they were just LEFT? They had been told by Jesus to STAY and WAIT for the power of the Holy Spirit.
Have you ever been in a position when you have lost someone very dear to you to be told to STAY and WAIT for something that has been promised, but you have no idea how and when it will happen? I would be tearing my hair out with fifty whole days of STAYING in Jerusalem and just WAITING until the promised Holy Spirit came.
Jesus’ final words to his friends, recorded in the book of Acts. Chapter 1 verse 8:- ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be my witnesses’ and in verse 4 ‘wait for the gift my Father promised’. Again in Luke (Chapter 24 verse 49) we have Jesus saying, ‘stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high’ I wonder how those friends of Jesus spent their 50 days of staying and waiting?
Couldn’t Put Humpty Together Again
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Humpty Dumpty is a children’s poem generally regarded as nonsense:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again.
That may seem a strange question – surely it’s an event, rather than something that has a meaning? But if the “Christian” Christmas is struggling to keep its head above the secular, non-religious, festival, Easter seems be struggling more, even amongst Christians! Children at a Church-sponsored Primary school were asked about Easter, and many genuinely didn’t know what it was about!
Many readers will remember when Good Friday was almost like a Bank Holiday, when many shops and businesses closed. Many people ate no meat that day as a kind of fast in observing the special-ness of the day. Holy Saturday was a normal day, but then Easter Sunday was a real celebration, with many more than usual coming to church and an even greater sense of it being an extra-special day. Many people felt that if there was one day in the year when one attended their local church, Easter Sunday was that day.