Dear all

Greetings on this First Sunday of Lent!

This morning, it was wonderful to say Morning Prayer at St Barnabas Church, praying for our congregations and wider communities of Gorse Hill and Ferndale.

This afternoon at our online service, it was a real blessing to have Revd Judy Ashby lead us in worship. She preached on the theme of ‘repentance’ – God’s ability to change our hearts and minds. Lent offers us a space to work on the areas of our lives that need God’s power to turn things around for us, for example, letting go of un-forgiveness or being judgmental. Revd Judy reminded us it is only in God’s strength that such repentance can happen and this why repentance is indeed ‘good news’ for all who open themselves to God. There’s nothing a person can do, no life lived, that cannot be touched by the love, grace and mercy of God. And when we spend more time with God, we are gradually transformed to be more like Christ. Are you willing to allow God to change your heart and mind this Lenten season? Are you willing to ‘let go and let God’ do an awesome work in your life?

May we be encouraged to do the hard work this Lenten season, because as the writer below describes, we will be amazed by what God can do with willing hearts.

Spring Cleaning

Hey, Jesus
did you say something about possessions?
Well, it just so happens
that I’d be very pleased
if you would take some of this stuff
which keeps getting in the way.

For example, that old trunk
filled with ideas which no longer fit.
In the past they’ve served me well
but now they’re tight. They chafe
and are splitting at the seams.
You’ve given me new garments to grow into.

Over here, I’ve got stacks of answers
dating back to the days
when life was filled with questions.
You took the questions last collection
I don’t know why I’m hanging onto these.

Down by your feet are some masks
I keep accumulating those
in spite of the fact that I promised myself
I’d never wear masks again. They’re so heavy!

These bundles are heavy too,
judgemental attitudes wrapped in fear.
Can you help me to move them?

Hey Jesus,
why don’t I just hand it all to you
and let you deal with it?
Why don’t I just stand here
And admire the results of our spring-cleaning?

You know this house is surprisingly big
I didn’t know I had so much space
Hey Jesus,
Would you like to move in?

(from Psalms Down Under by Joy Cowley)

Thank you so much to all who contributed to today’s online worship event: Rose, Gloria, Charles and Ruby (readers) – it’s always fantastic having children amongst us!; Pam and Henry (prayers); Malcolm and Richard for playing for us. We were blessed by your ministry, thank you. And, many thanks to all who came along to this afternoon’s worship event.

Revd Cathy

The First Sunday of Lent