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“Lent” 23rd March 2018

“A Fork in the Road” this month our speaker Alexia Binns shared her thoughts on Lent and the challenges that brings her and each of us when making a concerted effort to abide by those goals we have set ourselves during this time of year. Alexia shared a reflection Follow me.

Follow me, you said.

Sounded simple enough – Until you walked the path To the place of the skull, Carrying the cross.

Yours is a strange kind of glory, Lord. To follow is a frightening prospect. When pain and trouble arrive, We would sooner run away and hide As your first disciples did.

‘Drink this cup,’ you said. Sounded fine –  Until you spoke of blood poured out, and a cup full of sorrow.

Give us the courage to go with you; Remembering that our lives belong to you already. Trusting that in losing we will find.

Discovering that from death, new life emerges

Cara Heafey

‘I will be lifted up,’ you said Speaking not of honour, but a criminal’s death; Your body broken and beaten, stripped and nailed to wood.

During the time of lent Alexia had decided to give up one thing and it brought to mind the verses in Psalm 119: 9-16: How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

On a recent visit to Jamaica for a family funeral she was met with many challenges that would test her decision to give up alcohol for Lent, she said, “Each time I remembered that Jesus experienced many temptations and challenges during his 40 days and nights and how I must resist that temptation just like He did.  ‘A path that I chose and unpolluted by sin”.

“We have to give God a place of honour, taking joy in his word”. 

What are we seeking in Lent and what are each of us doing during this time and are we conscious making that commitment? One of the group shared that she was reading a book by Paula Gooder called 40 days of Easter, and another reading the sermons of Thomas Manton written in the 17th century.  It was agreed that sometimes we need to make time every day to spend quality time with God and make that our priority instead of work.  Focusing on God’s word and giving God your best not just fitting him in to your everyday.

Lent is not easy, but keeping God in the front of our minds and keep God closed and conscious of our speech and actions

To finish our time Alexia read the following reflection:

Here I am again Crumpled and bruised

Standing at the threshold Knowing I’ve stayed away too long

I don’t know why I keep repeating the same mistakes.

I don’t know why I fail to make the choices that lead to flourishing, to life.

But this I know: Better late than never.

Better honestly in pieces, than pretending to be whole.

Here I am welcome, Here I am known,

You bid me step in out of the darkness –Not into a cold white light But the warm glow of home.

Despite its constancy Your grace surprises me every time.

Undoes me, breaks me down and remakes me. Restores hope and joy.

Lightens my step and opens my heart. I remember that I am yours;

Always have been and always will be. Gratitude floods my being. I lean into love.

Cara Heafey