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Vicar's Column

By Church Office (churchoffice@crowthorneparishchurch.org.uk ) St John the Baptist Parish Church

Monday, 15 February 2021

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St John the Baptist Parish Church Contributor

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Lent will soon be upon us. A second Lent partly endured in lockdown. We are getting used to this. This year we will not be able to hold our usual penitential Ash Wednesday Service with the imposition of Ashes. You are welcome to join Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford: at 1pm online for their usual Wednesday BCP Eucharist, and later the Cathedral will end the day with a reflective Eucharist at 6pm which will be live-streamed only on their YouTube channel.

Lockdown, or otherwise, Lent offers an opportunity for reading and reflection upon the Christian way. As Canon Mark Oakley writes in the Church Times: “If Lent is a snowfall in the soul, then a good Lent book is the spade that helps us clear a path for a needed journey. Any such book that makes us turn off auto-pilot Christianity by revitalising or reimagining an aspect of our faith is especially welcome.”

My personal recommendation for this Lent is John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to stay emotionally healthy and spiritually alive in the chaos of the modern world. It is an easy read. Comer has a very accessible and engaging style as he challenges us on our accepted lifestyle norms. It is a particularly suitable book for a Lockdown Lent in which we are given a golden opportunity to reevaluate our rhythms of existence. Guidance is given on what might be included in a Rule of Life, orientated around the four axes of Silence and Solitude; Sabbath; Simplicity and Slowing. There are a lot of helpful suggestions, although I did not buy into the one about throwing out your TV (but then Comer is writing in an American context and doubtless their television programming is not as erudite as ours.)

If you are after a daily reflections book, then a reliable Anglican offering would be: Reflections for Lent 2021, which follows the lectionary readings for Morning Prayer with concise reflections by well-known writers - Guli Francis-Deqani, Graham James, Mark Oakley, and others (Church House Pub £4.99 ISBN 978-1-78140-182-8). For even snappier readings/reflections, there is the Church of England’s Live Lent: God’s Story, Our Story (£1.99 ISBN 978 1 78140 232 0). You can probably order these books from Quench.

To conclude with another quote by Canon Oakley: “Lent is the invitation to rediscover the depths and riches that are there as our inheritance, for our dignity and human growth.” I hope that you can find something suitable to delve into and do send your recommendations into the weekly news.

Revd Dr Lisa Cornwell

Contact Information

Church Office (churchoffice@crowthorneparishchurch.org.uk )

Find St John the Baptist Parish Church

Waterloo Road, Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 7NT

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Additional Information

There is ample parking along Waterloo Road, and around the back of the Church on the unmade road Church Street. What 3 words code: https://what3words.com/player.cards.hooks