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Reflections and Prayers The 1st Sunday of Lent, 21st Feb

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

Called by name …

‘How do you know me?’ (Nathanael’s response to Jesus. John 1:48)

By Easter 2004 County Hall in Ipswich had moved from 19th century surroundings to the twenty first century in a little more than a week. I found myself working in a large open plan office where every stair, every floor, every desk looked the same. The horizon was a long way off but the IT was great. Losing a cosy dark little office with my name on the door for a large space, surrounded by glass walls and a distant view of the river was exciting. The environment was great for networking, communication and teamwork. Not so hot for thinking, silent reading and complex individual casework. I quickly acquired the old skill of selective deafness. I learnt to block out my surroundings… noise, chatter and every distraction. Colleagues complained that I might not respond, even to my own name. (After all there are many other people called Bill and there is every possibility that it is their turn to make the coffee.)

Sandra learnt that she could get my attention with one whispered word from childhood. She did not have to shout, prod, or throw a pen. I instantly responded to the word William. Calling a person by name is a very powerful way of getting attention, showing that you know something about a person and the people they know can be a compliment. Asking people into your home, asking them to walk with you, share with you or do you a small favour is often the starting point to friendship and belonging.

When Sandra called me by name she caught my attention and provoked memories of childhood. I smiled and asked what I could do to help her. When Jesus called Simon, Andrew and Phillip he asked them to follow and join him. In turn, Phil told Nat about Jesus. If we want to tell others about Jesus we first have to know their names, take an interest and share something of ourselves. We have to make friends with people before we invite them to, ‘Come and see Jesus ’.

Gracious God, your son Jesus drew all kinds of people to himself, and so to you.

Help me to reflect your love so that others may see something of you in me. Amen

Rev. Bill Herbert

Brett Foster (1973–2015 ) Longing, Lenten The walk back, more loss. When I open the door it's over, so I set to piddling: tidy end tables, check the mail, draw a bath. The restless energy finally settles as I pass the mirror. I peer into it. My nose touches glass. Not much left, already effaced, not even a cross to speak of. A smudge. A few black soot stains like pin points on the forehead. The rest of the blessed ash has vanished to a grey amorphousness, to symbolize... not much. Except a wish for those hallowed moments to be followed by sustaining confidence. Except spirit, which means to shun its listless weight for yearning, awkward if not more earnest prayer and fasting in the clear face of dust. To Pray for

  • We pray for our teachers that are preparing for the schools to open

  • For kindness and generosity, especially during Suffolk's 40 Days of Kindness

  • Those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and are looking for new work

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