“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!” [verse 3 of the Hymn How Great Thou Art]
The picture of Snowdrops found on the web-site has been drawn by Mr. Eadie and it is also on the Notice Board of Condorrat Church. It is such an evocative sign of Spring, new life and Hope. The bright white flowers showing up against the dark earth, reflecting Jesus as the light in the darkness.
Did you know that Snowdrops are also called “Candlemas Bells”? Candlemas is celebrated at the beginning of February and marks the time Jesus was brought to the Temple and Blessed by Simeon and Anna. Simeon declared the Jesus would be “A Light to the Gentiles” [The account is found in Luke ch2 v 32]. This led many Christians to see Snowdrops as a symbol of Jesus being the Hope of the world, a thought which is echoed in the third line of the hymn “How Great thou art” – Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
We walk in Hope and in Faith as we move through these difficult times still unsure exactly when we will be together again, how that will look as we slowly emerge and even after that. So much has changed and so much yet to change, yet in the midst of this we cling to Faith and Hope. The knowledge that Jesus will always be near and will always be the guiding light for us in our Faith Journey wherever that takes us.
Talking of Faith Journeys, the year draws on and the Christian Year marches on also regardless of our situations. Lent is upon us, and there are many ways of taking the Spiritual Journey through Lent. We cannot all meet up the way we used to but there are some who have on-line Lent Studies for instance. Sanctuary First the On-Line Church has Lent Studies which are easy to access. The beauty of On Line Studies are that you can do this in your own time but also feel part of something much larger than yourself.
Lent is a time of thinking more closely about Jesus and becoming more aware of who He is, what He has done for us and it also gives us time to reflect on our relationship with Jesus. It is a time of “Giving up” or “Taking up”, if you give up something it is a good exercise to work out what you are giving up and why. It allows us to examine ourselves and our motives and with great humility come to realise just how wonderful Jesus is and become more aware of what He has done for us.
If you decide to “Take up” something new for Lent try this, instead of giving up chocolate, fizzy drinks or chips, use Lent as a period of time to help others. Hundreds of people take part in the Lenten Positive Acts Challenge, as another way to show praise for God. Participants perform one positive act for each of the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. These ‘positive acts’ can include calling up someone who is alone, donating to a worthy cause, clearing up after dinner and letting someone go ahead of you in a supermarket queue.
Maybe you might think that it will be difficult to Give Up something such as our favourites, or to Take Up something, such as the daily acts of kindness may take a lot to keep going right up to Easter but not impossible. Everything is possible with God. We are all human and as this time moves on we will all be tempted to go back on our promises, but we have Jesus to look to and remember that we are never alone. Jesus was tempted in the desert during His Journey and He overcame them with Faith and Trust in God. Supported by God’s Word and His understanding that He was not alone.
So we look forward in Faith, take heart from the symbols of Spring, the beauty of the Snowdrops, the Love of God, and the Hope we find in Jesus.
LET US PRAY
Almighty and everlasting God,
Maker of all things, who has given us the fragile beauty of the Snowdrop a symbol of light in the darkness and a Hope for the future.
May we ever move forward in Faith, journeying through Lent in our own way,
Coming closer to You in our own way and at our own pace.
We thank You for Jesus the Light in the Darkness who brings Light to the world and to our path.
Guide us in the days ahead, Grant Patience when we become frustrated with life,
Fortitude when we become overwhelmed, Strength when we falter.
Lord we ask a Blessing on all those who work for the community, maintaining the essentials of life,
Supporting the vulnerable, those work quietly in the background without thinking of themselves.
Be with us through this week as we travel through Lent.
We ask in Jesus name.
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