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February - March 2015

posted 22 Apr 2015, 09:22 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 22 Apr 2015, 09:23 ]

Dear All,

Despite it being only a fortnight after New Year, I'm sat down at my computer writing the Rector's letter for the Lenten edition of the magazine. It's snowing outside, and looking very wintry. Sometimes the weather seems to match what I'm writing about. Is snow and wintry weather a suitable match for Lent? Some would say yes – after all, it's not very pleasant out there, and Lent is meant to be penitential, isn't it. Or is it? Lent is a time of preparation for Easter, of focusing on God. We are meant to examine our hearts and minds, our faith, and turn again towards God. To whittle out any failings or weaknesses and work on them. Which is a bit of a tall order, to be honest.

I'm not sure we can ever truly know all of our failings and weaknesses. We're very good at seeing them in other people, but not in ourselves. I was once told that one of the best ways to identify my own weaknesses was to think about what annoyed me in other people. I'm not convinced about that, but it's worth pondering upon. There is an element of truth in it. I'm aware that one of my failings is a lack of self-confidence. Or rather, pride. It seems odd to combine the two together. I can be so afraid of looking a fool, or making mistakes, that I lack self- confidence. And I cover it over by a thin veneer of smiles. It stems from a lack of trust in others – and a lack of faith in God. Not a lack of faith that God exists, but almost a hesitancy – can I really trust him to look after me, can I trust him to guide me and protect me.

I have a small white dog curled up at my feet as I write this. No, I haven't acquired my own dog. I'm dog-sitting for the morning, much to my delight. Charlie, having had a good sniff round the kitchen and the garden, has decided that right under my feet is the best place to be.

He trusts me, and that's wonderful. He's content just to rest and be. Unlike him, I'm not very good at trusting and relaxing. But I have to think why. After all, Charlie trusts me because he has reason to do so. He knows that I will stroke him and feed him, maybe spoil him a little. He knows this because he's spent time with me.

And that really is the answer. For me, for all of us, the answer to dealing with our weaknesses and failings to to spend time with God, to get to know him and trust him. That is our task this coming Lent. And it might be a time of penitence, of saying sorry, or it might not be. It might be a time of new growth, of blossoming. It is not up to us to set the agenda for our time with God. It is for God to guide us, to steer us, to gently correct us if needed, and to love us into relationship with him.

So that is my prayer for this New Year – for this fast approaching Lent. That we all make time to spend with God, to focus on him, and to listen to his voice as we look forward.

With every blessing,