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Reflections and Prayers The 3rd Sunday of Lent, 7th March

This week the theme seems to have been very much one of transformation. In our LiveLent course and reflections we have been considering how God has transformed people often in dramatic ways. And in the weekly Gospel reading we see Jesus dramatic clearing of the temple forecourts. So much so that all the coins of the various money changers ended up on the floor in a mixed pile – I assume for the treasurers to argue about later.

The LiveLent course also encourages us to think about our own story with God. At work we used to have a thing called elevator conversations. If you were stuck in an elevator with the head of the company and he or she said ‘What do you do’ could we provide a short one-minute summary?

For us I guess it’s more of a case of if you met our Bishop on the door and he asked you ‘why do you come to church’ what would you say? Perhaps: Nice people – Nice Coffee – Good jokes in the sermon?

You see we aren’t very good at telling stories of our spiritual lives, even after we’ve covered the weather and the state of Ipswich Town, we don’t like talking about God. A quick survey on the front page of the The Times one day this week showed that there were no stories really about individual's stories – except the Duke of Edinburgh going into hospital. Similarly the Church Times – no stories of how God has blessed or transformed individuals. Are we all being very modest?

And yet in a metaphor for what Jesus might do on the cross He clears out everything that gets in our way in getting to God. Perhaps these stories of transformation in LiveLent and in this week’s Gospel are giving us a message – that the path to God is clear – and God is ready to transform us – gradually or dramatically. God is ready to make our story, His too. Are we ready to start the telling of that story?

Mark Cresswell

Because We Hunkered Down

by Malcolm Guite

These bleak and freezing seasons may mean grace

When they are memory. In time to come

When we speak truth, then they will have their place,

Telling the story of our journey home,

Through dark December and stark January

With all its disappointments, through the murk

And dreariness of frozen February,

When even breathing seemed unwelcome work.

Because through all of these we held together,

Because we shunned the impulse to let go,

Because we hunkered down through our dark weather,

And trusted to the soil beneath the snow,

Slowly, slowly, turning a cold key,

Spring will unlock our hearts and set us free. To Pray for

  • We pray for the safe return to school for all children

  • For a full and speedy recovery for Prince Philip

  • Peace on earth following protests in Myanmar where several innocent people have been killed

  • Also we pray for the Nigerian schoolgirls who are being kidnapped, may they return home safely and unharmed

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