- Saturday, 23 March 2019
We’re moving into the second half of the season of Lent. I wonder as you look back over the last few weeks, what has been different about the pattern of life you’ve experienced, preparing for and looking forward to Easter? In a few weeks’ time, on Palm Sunday (14th April), we will begin Holy Week, during which we follow Jesus’ journey to the cross and beyond to Easter Day.
But why? Of course, it’s a powerful way of underlining the central truths of the Christian faith, but it goes deeper than that as well. Over the course of the week, we will try our best to follow all the ups and downs that Jesus goes through, all his emotions. In doing this, we pray that we will become more like Jesus, making connections between worship, our lives, and the lives of those around us. Little by little, we will be changed for the better as a community and as individuals.
So what will happen? This year, Holy Week will begin in Bulkington at 9:30am on Sunday 14th April in the car park of St James’ School. We will gather to hear the story of Palm Sunday and then walk from the school to Church with palm leaves and with singing. In our service, we will share an overview of the whole week before we zero in on particular things throughout the week.
We will meet on Monday-Thursday evenings at 7:30pm. On Wednesday we’ll be in Burton Hastings. Monday-Wednesday will be short times of prayer, with a short reflection. On Maundy Thursday we remember that Jesus is the servant king, who shared the last supper and washed his disciples’ feet. On Good Friday, there will be a Café Church service in the morning and services of quiet by the cross at Bulkington and Burton Hastings in the afternoon and an opportunity to join the Catholic Church for Stations of the Cross in the evening.
On Easter Day, you are invited to come to an Easter Sunrise Service at 5:30am that will start outside the Church door. It is early, especially for a night owl vicar (!) but this most ancient and beautiful of services is really worth it for one day a year! We will tell God’s story around a bonfire then take light of the risen Christ into the Church, and finish with breakfast. Our day continues with Holy Communion at Burton Hastings (8:30am) and Bulkington (10am).
I would encourage you to come to as much as you feel able over the week and whether at Church or at home, take some time each day to reflect on the journey of Holy Week. If you have time, type ‘Good Holy Week’ into youtube and hear what Bishop Stephen Cottrell has to say (it starts at 5mins30 and ends at 42mins).
(Web editor - the link for Good Holy Week will open YouTube in a new window, slightly before Bishop Stephen starts to speak)
- Saturday, 02 March 2019
Are you good at making decisions? Depending on what the decision is, it might take next to no time to decide, or it might take a bit longer, and require a bit more thought. Perhaps one decision that you’ve been considering recently is “what am I going to do for Lent?”
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (6th March), starting six weeks of anticipation and preparation for Easter. Sometimes people choose to give something up for Lent – chocolate, tea or coffee, alcohol, or whatever it might be. Others choose to take something up – reducing consumption of plastic or volunteering somewhere new, making an extra effort to pray or read the Bible. Once again, so many options. Why have people marked Lent in this way for so many generations?
It’s not about making ourselves feel miserable or trying to do Lent “better” than anyone else, but perhaps it’s more about stepping out of normal life for a little while. By giving up something that is part of our everyday or taking up something that might stretch us out of our comfort zone a bit, life is lived differently and we might start to learn more about what our priorities are or what they should be. Perhaps we will have space to consider the difference between what we want and what we need. Maybe it will be something completely different and we will be totally surprised at the journey of Lent this year.
No matter what we decide about how we’re going to mark Lent or where the journey takes us this year, perhaps we could ask God to help us make space for what he has for us this Lent, both as a whole community and as individuals?
- Saturday, 05 January 2019
Do you like mysteries? Famous detectives unravelling a complicated plot, a group of police tracking down a villain at all costs. Or perhaps you like grappling with a difficult riddle or working to complete a puzzle? Mysteries, real or imagined enthral and intrigue so many. What is a mystery? Some of these things suggest it’s a complicated truth that’s to be grappled with and enjoyed. It’s something with depth that captures us. Maybe we think of mysteries as too complicated to bother with. The Bible uses the word mystery to mean ‘a truth that can only be revealed by God’.
During January the Church celebrates the feast and season of Epiphany. Epiphany means “appearance”. We celebrate Jesus appearing on Earth and that in him God reveals a mystery – he shows us who he is in Jesus. In mystery stories, the central character often has an epiphany as well – a sudden idea that turns the whole case around. We might call it a “light bulb moment”. I wonder if any lightbulb moments stand out in your memory? Over the weeks of Epiphany, we’ll explore some moments where Jesus helped people to realise more of who God is – at his baptism, when he turned water into wine and when he began his ministry.
This year I have been grateful for a lightbulb moment about those wise men that came to visit the infant Jesus and bring him gifts. I had imagined that meeting Jesus brought a great journey of many miles to an end. In one way it did, but really it was the beginning of something that would change the rest of their lives and beyond. When we meet Jesus, when we have those lightbulb moments and realise more about him, that is just the start of a life-changing journey. A very happy new year to you all - let’s look forward to sharing the journey together!
Rev. Charles Higgins
- Sunday, 03 February 2019
At the beginning of February, I will take down the last of the Christmas decorations. It’s not because I’m forgetful, but I do use them to remind myself that the celebration of Christmas lasts for 40 days, even if the chocolates don’t. Lent and Easter aren’t too far away, but before we get there, the next few weeks bring us to something the Church calls ‘Ordinary Time’. ‘Ordinary’ is a bit of an unpopular word – sometimes ordinary things are thought to be plain or unexciting. We often want things to be extraordinary or special instead, but we need the ordinary as well.
Ordinary time is ordered or measured time. It is time to live in the present moment, time that is counted and marked not to wish it away or count it down but to savour and enjoy it. Ordinary time celebrates that God is involved in the everyday as well as the extraordinary. Ordinary time makes special times like Christmas or Easter more special. Living for God week-by-week on ordinary days like Monday to Saturday mean that we will approach Sundays differently when we gather together.
The colour of Ordinary Time is green – the colour of growth. Living for God in the everyday helps us to become measured people - people who celebrate the good, grieve the bad, and notice where God is to be found in the ordinary.
Rev. Charles Higgins
- Sunday, 30 December 2018
The wonder of Christmas has always been there,
Childhood memories, still fresh in my mind.
Church bells rang out through the cold frosty air,
Smoke from chimneys, spiralled, aligned.
I see dad in the kitchen, our breakfast to cook,
Mum’s there too, Festive food to prepare.
Baubles on the tree, hang hook by hook,
Presents so tempting, with wrapping to tear.
At home, my family, the warmth and the love,
Still fills my heart with such thankfulness
Mum and dad, still close, but now above,
I like to think they are proud of my success.
But those memories of many a Christmas past,
Will forever be with me, as many a day I recall,
Family tales from mum and gran, life wasn’t fast,
Time was slow, but how I loved them telling all.
Grandad and uncle, surplices and robes freshly pressed
To sing in the choir, Bass and Tenor, so gran relates,
Christmas joy it was for them, their voices truly blessed.
I wonder if they know, I followed through their gates.
The miracle that is Christmas, will always be there,
The Babe, to bring light and love to our world,
With thanks to all those that have gone before
I cherish those memories my family unfurled.
Now I have been blessed with grandsons, all three.
Excitement and wonder, for them carries on,
Amidst the bustle, silently, a prayer from me,
To give thanks for one, my miracle, for all to see.