It is Ash Wednesday today and I have just come back from Church but without the cross marked with ashes on my forehead. Due to Covid19, we didn’t have the imposition of ashes.
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent. My Protestant Christian upbringing was heavily influenced by the Reformation so we didn’t mark holy days which means that we don’t observe Lent. Keeping the Sabbath day holy was all that mattered.
In the Church of England and in England as a country, things are very different, almost everyone observes the Lent season and the favourite question is “what are you giving up for Lent”? It can get a bit awkward when you say you are not giving up anything because it makes one sound irreligious! I have never given up anything for Lent and I don’t intend to begin now. I will use the Lent season to pray and meditate on God’s word which is something I do on a daily basis anyway.
I read in yesterday’s Telegraph about the Balmoral Clock above the Balmoral Hotel in Princes Street in Edinburgh. I know the Balmoral Clock very well as we used to live in Edinburgh. My office was very near Princes Street so I was there at least a few times a week. The Mhinisteir and I used to depend on the clock for accuracy whenever we went that way. I learnt through the article that the Balmoral Clock runs three minutes ahead of time to help people catch their trains on time at Waverley Station! It has been that way for the last 118 years!
On Monday, the Mhinisteir and I went out to get fuel for the car. Our old car was desperately needing a good run too. We are now in Tier 4 so we had to be mindful of our actions. The fuel station was located about 30 minutes from our Vicarage. I never got out of the car while the Mhinisteir filled the car and paid for it at the little kiosk instead of going inside the wee shop to pay.
While waiting, I decided to look around and saw a Halfords. What I saw next was unbelievable! I saw a couple with a baby going into Halfords. Why on earth would you want to bring a baby out to Halfords while living under Tier 4 rules????!!!!! I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt but then there were another 2 cars that arrived with the whole family. Mum, Dad plus two children!!!! I concluded that because they were bored stiff at home they decided to make a family outing to Halfords!!!!!
For the past couple of years, I have been struggling to get a good night’s sleep. Once I wake up in the middle of the night, thats my sleep gone. My mind starts wondering about everything under the sun and by the time I am ready to sleep, it is time to wake up!!!
For the past few weeks, the problem has gotten worst in that I can’t get to sleep in the first place!!! I have tried reading, lavender oil etc but no I just couldn’t get to sleep.
I just about had enough when I got reminded about a vanity pack that was given to me on board a BA flight last winter. It has never been used! Anyway, I managed to get the eye mask out and used it on Sunday night. Oh my goodness! What a difference it has made to my sleep! I woke up at 10am yesterday and this morning it was almost 9am. Whats more… I had an uninterrupted sleep throughout the night!
I never wanted to read Pilgrim’s progress as I always associated it as a “holy Joe’s” book.
In my circle in Scotland, people went on and on about John Bunyan’s pilgrim’s progress that it actually put me off the book. I had never read it and had no desire to read it until late summer this year!
It is one of the hardest books that I have ever read in my entire life but it was worth every minute of my time. I started reading it in late summer and only finished reading it about a week ago! I struggled to read it because Christian’s journey is so true to mine. I needed to take a couple of days to ponder on the few pages that I read each week!
I am unable to do a proper review because trying to do one will be like trying to review the Holy Bible!
In short, the book is about Christian who is a pilgrim in this world and his journey to the celestial city. It is a wonderful reminder to the reader of the ups and downs of Christian life.
The Author John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s progress when he was in jail. A tinker by trade and though not ordained, he preached in pulpits when invited. It was his preaching as an unauthorised person that got him imprisoned. He was imprisoned from November 1660 to May 1672 and again for six months in 1676. It was during his second stint in prison that he started writing Pilgrim’s Progress.
Today, Pilgrim’s progress is regarded as one of the best theological fiction in English literature. It has been translated in over 200 languages and has never been out of print.
It is a book worth reading especially if you are a Christian!
In the Church of England, clergy are required to take a week’s holiday immediately after Christmas to make up for a very busy December.
This year, the Mhinisteir and I were due to go away for a week but because we have been moved to Tier 4, this is not possible, plan B is to holiday at home. Fat chance!
On Boxing Day, there was an Almighty panic among the Church wardens about the new Tier 4 rules which resulted in phone calls and emails.
On Sunday, the Mhinsteir had to do services because there was no one else. Our Curate is away for their well deserved break. Life as a Curate is very cushy as there are very few responsibilities.
Today there were more panic phone calls and emails from the Church Wardens! There are a good few in our parishes who are in hospital or have received devastating diagnosis so they are desperate for spiritual assistance.
This is the calling that the Mhinisteir chose all those years ago and being married to him means it becomes my way of life too so there is no room for complaints.
I was on the phone to my parents when the Mhinisteir mouthed “heating is not working”. Since we were coming to the end of our conversation, I rang off to attend to the impending crisis.
Unusually, the Mhinisteir looked worried. He said the boiler wasn’t working and that there was a red light on. Mmmm…. sounds serious. He also added that he has been in touch with the plumber but all he got was the answering machine. Double Mmmm….
With all the Christmas services, the next 48 hours are going to be extremely busy for the Mhinisteir.
How can the boiler break down when we have been so diligent in servicing it? Will the plumber even check his answering machine? It has been very very cold with hailstones so what are we to do if the plumber can’t come for the next few days???????????
Anyway, I needed to get a grip. I am supposed to be a help not a hindrance.
I told the Mhinisteir that we should exercise our faith and pray. Half an hour later, I went to check on the boiler. The Mhinsister was just coming out of his study. “Boiler is working!!!” he mouthed again because this time he was on the phone to a parishioner!!!!
People usually say prayer is powerful but I say God is powerful.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6
Contrary to the lies that the media is feeding us in order to brainwash us, Christmas is NOT cancelled!
Christmas will be different in fact very different. How can we expect a normal Christmas when we are in the midst of a GLOBAL pandemic? As we plan and celebrate an abnormal Christmas, maybe we can think about those people who have lost loved ones to this dreadful disease who will forever have empty chairs around their dinner tables at Christmas.
As Christians, we believe that God sent His son to save the world from sin so it is absurd to suggest that (Christ)mas is cancelled.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life – John 3:16