From the Clergy – Feb 2019

February is not the brightest of months for, although the days grow longer, the heavy skies, lack of sunshine and damp cheerless days chill the bone. Yet we need these days to give the balance to nature and to allow the earth to complete its cycle of fallow rest before the energies and new life of Spring.
In the Church we enter a similar short season of recuperation and rest after all the activities of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Candlemas at the very beginning of the month draws in the seasons of revelation. The Crib, with its iconic reminder of the remarkable way that God chose for the incarnation, once more becomes the Altar but remains that self-same focus of the God who is with us and whose presence we must contemplate without the visual imagery of a child in a manger.
The beautiful Candlemas Service moves us on and we are left, not enjoying the wonder of a church filled with candles, or the infant child being proclaimed the “light to enlighten the nations”, but with the heartrending words of old Simeon to the young mother, Mary, “that a sword will pierce her own soul too”. So we come not to closure, but to a turning towards the teachings of Lent and the mysteries that enfold at Easter.
With Easter being late this year we have some added time, four weeks before Lent then the season itself. There are no major distractions in the Church calendar to prevent us from taking up some additional reading to deepen our faith and understanding of God and we have uncluttered additional time for silence, prayer and worship.
It need not be a ‘fallow time’, indeed there seems to be no such thing in the purposes of God, I suggest it can be a personal, productive, enriching time.
Alan Wolstencroft
P.S. In case you get the’ February blues’ use this prayer, a favourite of mine.
“God of our life,
there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders
and weigh us down,
when the road seems dreary and endless,
the skies grey and threatening,
when our lives have no music in them,
and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost courage.
Flood the path with light,
turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise,
tune our hearts to brave music,
give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age,
and so quicken our spirits
that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us
on the road of life, to your honour and glory, we pray. 
St. Augustine (354-430)