A warm greeting to everyone as we begin to see the buds and shoots of spring breaking forth on trees and bushes in gardens and hedgerows. I write this following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the path through lockdown, giving us a focus for the hope and assurance which we hold as Christians.
I encourage you as we use this season of Lent to prepare ourselves for the spiritual roller-coaster ahead, coming through the adulation of Jesus on Palm Sunday, the blackness of Holy Week culminating in his ultimate rejection and death at Golgotha and on to the quiet but undeniable exaltation of the disciples in declaring that “He is alive”.
Throughout his teaching, Jesus calls us to prepare for the coming Kingdom, using the imagery of maidens, servants and stewards to help us understand the imperative to “be ready”. This came home to me last month: most of you probably know the reason for there being no letter from me for February was because of an emergency stay in hospital.
Thankfully, while the episode was extremely painful with the formation of a kidney stone, it did not have any life-threatening implication. It was however instant and without any warning: my reflection following my return home was that this could have been something more serious. The consequent question is how prepared I and the family were to face the prospect of sudden death. Spiritually, all of us who profess the Christian faith know that there is a place prepared for us by the Son in our heavenly Father’s house. He will call us home in his time.
In a worldly sense, I suspect like me, most of us have some tidying up to do in our affairs. This has been highlighted for me as executor for the estate of Nicci’s step-grandmother. I know how important it is to keep one’s affairs in order so that one’s family have ready access to all the information needed to wind up the estate. I urge you to have conversations with those who will be looking after your affairs, whether this is your family or close friends and show them where all the relevant paperwork (or electronic files, more likely!) are stored – and how to access them! It is not morbid to have these conversations, rather it is the responsible and sensible thing to do.
Lent is about being prepared spiritually for the dramatic exposition of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I urge you, too, to take time to review your personal affairs.
With my prayers,