Collect and Readings for Sunday 21st February 2021 – Private Prayer at All Saints, Marthall 9:30am. The First Sunday of Lent
Readings: Genesis 9.8-17, Psalm 25.1-9, 1 Peter 3.18-end, Mark 1.9-15
The Prayer for today
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are, yet without sin: give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday and marked the start of Lent. We held our first book group meeting; the book we are looking at is called 'Living his Story; Revealing the extraordinary love of God in ordinary ways' by Hannah Steele. The focus of the book is our relationship with God and how we witness this relationship to others and let them in on the secret. The greatest secret of all time that God's love is unconditional, it is for everyone regardless of race, colour creed or sexuality and it is freely given all we have to do is be open to receive it and respond to the invitation.
This Sunday our readings start the journey towards the Queen of festivals – Easter, when we celebrate Christ's resurrection. However, during the next six weeks we need to make space to spend time getting to know ourselves and drawing closer to God. As with any relationship there will be ups and downs; conflicts when we are pulled in different directions; times when we know what we should do but do things that we know are not right.
Jesus experienced all these turmoil of emotions; He faced difficult decisions, for example in the wilderness when he could have chosen the easy life but relied instead upon God. We are very good at ignoring or rewriting stories, particularly when the ask of us is too difficult or not what we want to do. This is why we need the space, the wilderness to be alone with God. In the wilderness we are able to be honest. In a sense we have experienced this over the last 12 months in the lockdowns, where during the pandemic we have all felt the bare and uncompromising landscape and we are confronted to realise what is of real importance to us. In our Genesis, reading Noah and his family have been through the storms and floods and are now at the point when the rainbow of God's saving promise marks the end of the period of devastation. They are now ready and able to walk as new people into a new landscape.
My hope and prayer is that from this time, both the period of Lent and the pandemic, we will emerge as a stronger more integrated community and as Christians be ready to go out and witness to God's power and love.
Things to do and think about:
God bless and stay safe and well
Rev'd Fiona Robinson