ASH WEDNESDAY – Ashes come from crosses

The first of a selection of items by myself and Marjorie Dobson for Ash Wednesday, Lent, Holy Week and Easter to appear regularly over the coming weeks.

 Ashes come from crosses
 Ashes come from crosses, 
 symbolically palm-leafed 
 for joyful jubilation, 
 yet shaped 
 for betrayal and condemnation.
 Crosses carried last Lent 
 as emblems of enlightenment 
 and hand-held holiness, 
 now tired and tainted 
 by a year of faults
 and failing to follow 
 the sacrificial example 
 set by the crucified Christ.
 So ashes of symbols 
 become badges of repentance 
 to be warily worn, 
 not as a display of duty 
 to be proudly presented 
 as an outward sign 
 of hollow holiness, 
 but as a reminder of those times 
 when our hopes turn to ashes, 
 as our welcoming 
 of Christ’s kingdom 
 is overwhelmed 
 by the opinions of the crowd 
 and easily influenced 
 into denial and defeat.

 © Marjorie Dobson  

Hymn – Martin Luther King – still for our time – a hymn for today – I have a dream…

 I have a dream that on a day
 not very long from now,
 all war-like weapons will be banned;
 by grace, God, show us how.
 I have a dream that love will hear
 another's crying need,
 that justice will demand we act
 in spite of race or creed.
 I have a dream that everyone
 upon this far-flung earth
 will see the Christ in those around,
 affirm a common worth.
 I have a dream that peace will come
 and hunger cease to be;
 within this time, this present age,
 all people will be free.
 I have a dream that foolish dreams
 like this might come about
 if you and I go hand in hand,
 in trust instead of doubt.
 I have a dream, come take my hand,
 the risk is worth the chance,
 the world will spin, turn upside down
 if we join heaven's dance.
 Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
 Words © 2015 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England,
 Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. 
 All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd. 
 Hope Publishing in the USA
 From More than hymns 
 Metre: CMD

Ending lockdown…or not…

I was so warmed to read of the greetings that the Rev’d Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference and Carolyn Lawrence, our Vice- President have sent to faith leaders at the time of Diwali. It is good for us to be reminded at a time when everything seems to be focussed on ‘having a normal Christmas’ that it is not just we as Christians but Jews, Muslims, Hindus and those of other faiths who are called on to make sacrifices for the good of others. So may we travel through Advent humbly and, for all the sacrifice, follow the example of others who have worshipped virtually, mixed less freely, loved more fully during their religious festivals. Let us do this even if it means keeping our churches closed until secular closed venues, say theatres, are able to open again safely.

Face masks – UK

The BBC has announce that

The government is adding museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship to the list of places where face coverings should be worn in England.
It is currently a recommendation, but will become law on 8 August.
It has been compulsory to wear them in shops since 24 July.

Let wearing of masks in Church be a sign of love of our neighbour. Unusual for Government of any shade to insist on loving neighbours…one small step…