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Rev Adam Pawley

The Rector writes,

Less than 8 weeks after Christmas, Lent begins.

On Ash Wednesday 18th February, at 7:30pm we will host our joint parish service of Holy Communion with Ashing in Hope Church. All invited.

At the service you will be given a copy of the diocesan Lent prayer for 2015 (pictured).As a diocese we are being encouraged to pray this prayer every day at 6pm (or at a convenient time for you) Lent Prayer 2015 from Ash Wednesday until Easter Eve. It is a prayer that encourages us to follow Christ, knowing that at the end of Lent he will rise (and one day return) as the ‘Morning Star’, as described in 1 Peter and the book of Revelation in the Bible.

Lent is the time where we refocus our spiritual disciplines of self-examination, penitence, self-denial, study, preparation for Easter and almsgiving (giving to the poor).
For 6 weeks – or 40 days not including the Sundays – we fast and pray and seek the will of God for our lives – just as Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days in the desert in preparation for his adult ministry.

We have of course started now on a Sunday working through Mark’s gospel and we are reading it at home too. By Easter Sunday, we will have worked through it in its entirety. For our Lent Course this year (anyone and everyone is welcome) we are therefore going to reflect on Mark’s gospel, on what we’ve heard preached in church and read at home. (Other Lent Courses across the deanery will be advertised on a Sunday too should you prefer an alternative preference). If you’ve not read Mark’s gospel before – I encourage you to do so! It is the shortest (and scholars think the earliest) gospel and can be read in little over an hour. Also if you’ve not read any of the Bible before it is the perfect starting place! Go for it!

You will find fuller details of our Lent Courses in the Parish Magazine, and on our Services section here on the website.

You may like to find yourself a study book on Mark to read too? A simple read, that’s based on Mark’s Gospel and the Christianity Explored course, which I understand has been held in the parish before, would be Rico Tice & Barry Cooper, Christianity Explored, GBC, 2002

Books on Mark written by leading biblical scholars but written in easy to read language that I could suggest are:

- Canon Dick France, Mark: The People’s Bible Commentary, BRF, 1998

- Archbishop Rowan Williams, Meeting God in Mark, SPCK, Sep 2014

- Bishop Tom Wright, Mark for Everyone, published by SPCK, Mar 2014

Personally, I am reading Tom Wright at the moment and consequently you may hear of some of what he writes in my sermons! You can talk to our worship leader, Liz about Rowan Williams’ book.

Another book, but not based on Mark’s Gospel, is that each year the Archbishop of Canterbury issues his own Lent devotional book too. This year, Archbishop Justin Welby has commissioned:

- Archbishop Desmond Tutu, In God’s Hands, Continuum, Dec 2014

To buy, these books range from £5 to £9 and bar Dick France’s are all available in Kindle Edition too. Our nearest Christian bookshops are in the Salvation Army on Wrexham Street in Mold and Manna Books, on Charles Street in Wrexham. An online-only retailer, based in Chester, that I recommend is www.eden.co.uk.

May God give you grace and strength to persevere and know his Son (through Mark’s gospel!) more closely this Lent.

Adam.

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