An honest look at ourselves

Ven Dr Edward Dowler, Archdeacon of Hastings
Ven Dr Edward Dowler, Archdeacon of Hastings

This week many Christians around the world have been celebrating Ash Wednesday.

It presents a timely opportunity to take an honest look at ourselves.

For Christians, there’s a recognition that every one of us sometimes gets things wrong. Each of us behaves badly on occasion; and each of us falls short of what we would like to be.

There’s a stark reality to Ash Wednesday that we don’t always take note of in everyday life. It serves as a reminder that we are mortal in a culture that is often hesitant to speak about death. The words of the church’s service for Ash Wednesday make that point very clearly: ‘dust you are and to dust you will return’.

It’s a somber tone but the journey doesn’t end there. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent.

Lent is a season of turning away from our mistakes and making room to say sorry.

So, during Lent, it is traditional in church services not to say or sing the more joyful words such as ‘Alleluia.’ Churches are bare: unadorned by flowers and decorations.

We can’t do very much about the fact that we are going to die, but we can make efforts to improve our lives.

Lent gives us some ways of doing this: the well-established practices of fasting, prayer and giving to those in greater need.

But, although we may try our best during Lent, and it’s important that we do, it will never be enough.

We’ll get to the end of Lent, and much of what we’ve learnt about ourselves will remain true.

Yet, for Christians, when we get to Holy Week, something wonderful happens.

We believe in God doing something about those uncomfortable facts. Something that we are unable to do for ourselves.

At the other end of Lent, on Good Friday, we remember Christ’s death on the cross.

St Paul, one of the early Christian leaders, believed this was ‘God bringing the world back to himself in Jesus.’

And, because we are mortal, Easter Sunday is equally special, as we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead for us.

Contained within that belief is a promise, that it is possible to have new life.

New life that can begin now as we use times like these to reflect and to change.

Faith Matters:

WaterAid – Jars of Change Lent Appeal 2017

This Lent could you journey alongside those who have to make tiring walks only to collect dirty water? By giving something up this Lent and collecting the money you save for WaterAid, your pennies can become life changing clean water for children all around the world.

It’s easy to get involved. Simply request your fundraising pack by clicking on the link on the website: www.wateraid.org.uk and they’ll send you an activity sheet, poster, fundraising tips and jar sleeves to help you collect change.

WaterAid are working for a future where everyone everywhere has access to clean, safe water, and your support can help make this a reality.

Preparing for Easter;

'Preparing for Easter' is a workshop day for women being held on Friday 17th March at 9.15am. The venue is Offington Park Methodist Church, South farm Road, Worthing. Any enquiries should be directed to offingtonpark@btconnect.com

Be a Chorister for a Day;

Tomorrow (4th March) Chichester Cathedral is offering an exciting opportunity for boys who love to sing. From 1 pm to 4 pm, the Cathedral will be hosting a ‘Chorister Open Day’ where boys and their families can come and find out more about the life of a Cathedral chorister and Chichester’s famous Cathedral Choir.

The afternoon will include joining the choristers for a vocal workshop, a tour of Prebendal School, the opportunity to meet and chat with the parents of current choristers and finally the chance to sing with the choir at Evensong in the Cathedral.

This event is primarily for boys in Years 2 and 3 but parents with younger boys are very welcome to come along too, previous formal singing experience is not necessary - any boy who loves to sing is welcome.