Dear Friends,

Lent has begun! Yesterday as I write, was Ash Wednesday and we freely took part in the service of Commination, Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion in our living room. Laus Deo!

We look on in with a measure of astonishment at the sheer folly of the human race as it impacts the beleaguered country of Ukraine. There is a well-known saying that the sign of madness is when people keep on doing the same thing when it fails, keeping on expecting a better result “next time”. The ability to stop this quickly has not yet passed, but it appears that the great powers may be driven pig-headedly by world-views that are mad and bad. 

One can reflect on the saying that the world-view of world Powers that have rejected the Christianity they once had is worse than the world-view of a paganism that never embraced the Faith in the first place. In Lent we might usefully reflect that the effect can be similar for individuals as well (as is described in some challenging verses in Hebrews chapter 6).


The Collect for the First Sunday in Lent is

O Lord, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights: Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

During Lent the Sunday Collect is followed by the Collect for Ash Wednesday, which was referred to in last week’s letter.

The Synoptic Gospels record that after Jesus’s submission to John’s Baptism and the epiphany that took place at that time, He began His public ministry with a forty days' period of time fasting in the wilderness. The traditional period of time for the Season of Lent is also forty days. After His forty days in the wilderness, at the end of which the Adversary himself appeared to Him and unsuccessfully tempted Him, Jesus began His ministry of revealing the Kingdom of God, principally but not exclusively, to the Israel of that time. But that ministry was not complete until He had for our sakes given Himself up to the evil and misguided will of the authorities that represented the corrupted will of mankind. In the Collect we pray to the same Jesus for whatever grace of discipline enables our being “subdued” to the Holy Spirit, so that even as the Lord Jesus was wholly obedient to the will of His Father, we too may “ever obey” what the Lord Jesus moves us to do and be, to His “honour and glory”, who reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Just to study this Collect shows us how challenging is that for which we pray. May we pray the prayer with humility as well as the assurance that the help for which we sincerely pray will be forthcoming from Him who not only fasted in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry on the earth, but at the end of it made the ultimate sacrifice for our sake.

It is a good time to ask the Lord Jesus in full sincerity, “Lord, what will you have me to do?”

For directions about the services this Sunday the 6th March 2022, the First Sunday in Lent, please see the website . The usual “first Sunday” practices will apply, with the homily given  by Mr. Peter.

In faith in the holy Name of our Lord Jesus, who will continue to provide guidance by the Holy Spirit to all His people.

+ Nicholas