A struggle worth undertaking

Dr Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester
Dr Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester
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So now we know.  Theresa May has given up crisps for Lent.

Good for her for identifying herself as someone who seeks to embrace a Christian discipline.

Lent is a de-cluttering exercise that gives us space to attend to something really important.

It reminds me of a former colleague who used to play football with his little grandson just outside my study.

I don’t think my colleague liked football very much but his grandson loved it. And if grandad’s attention seemed to wander off to other things, I’d hear his grandson insisting, “Look grandad. Grandad! Look! Grandad, watch this.” And he’d shoot the ball at the goal.

Small renunciations of things we like and regularly do can prompt a voice within us that attracts our attention.

And in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are asked to reconsider our desires.

What are the things that we long for most?

What do we really need and what can we actually live without and still be happy and fulfilled?

As part of their Lenten discipline, many Christians come to a priest to make their confession.

At one stage of my life hearing confessions was a big part of my ministry.

Although I cannot break the absolute seal of confidentiality, I can say this. Many people who made their confession were struggling with how to love themselves.

I had to try to assure them that this was a struggle worth undertaking.

In response to every fear, hurt and failure they had confessed, God said, “And I love you”.

Needing to be loved is characteristic of being human.

In the complexity of today’s culture, it is not always easy to know how and by whom we are loved unconditionally, relentlessly, for ever.

The message of Easter is that God loves you like that, and more.

Lent should nag at us to pay attention to this happy news of being so loved.

Renew Our World

The charity Tearfund are joining with churches around the world in the ‘Renew Our World’ campaign. One in six people around the world have no access to electricity which means, no light for children to study in the evenings or to go the toilet safely at night and, no power for fridges to store medicine. But, we have an opportunity to put that right and do it sustainably. Head to www.tearfund.org for practical ideas on how to get involved and work together for a better, brighter world.

Performance of the Dove English Orchestra

The Dove English Orchestra are performing The Crucifixion and Pentecost on Sunday 9th April, 6.30pm at St Mary's Church, The Causeway, Horsham, RH12 1HE. There is free entry with a retiring collection and proceeds will go to the work of the Horsham District Food Bank. Everyone welcome to what promises to be an excellent evening’s entertainment.

‘Stations of the Holocaust’

From Wednesday 1st March this exhibition in Chichester Cathedral is open daily with free entry. ‘The Stations of the Holocaust’ by artist Jean Lamb. This thought provoking exhibition during Lent includes 14 ‘stations’ or artworks which have been carved out of elm wood, cast and then painted. Each one illustrates the final hours of Jesus’ life from the time of his trial to the time of his burial; within each piece is also carved an image from the Jewish Holocaust depicting the suffering of the Jewish people. Jean carved a ‘station’ during Lent each year from 1999. Jean is a professional artist and priest in the Church of England.

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