We are soon approaching Lent. Ash Wednesday is on March 6. We have two worship times at Ascension, at 12 noon and 7.30pm. This year I am going to slightly modify the words that go with the imposition of ashes – Remember that you are earth, and to earth you shall return. The season of Lent helps us to be/become better humans. It gets to the foundation of our creation and our faith. The season with its practices invites us to return to what is most important. (In Hebrew – the word ‘repentance’ has the sense of turning back, or being turned back, to God)
The Epiphany season started on January 6th and continues all the way to March 3. (Lent and Easter are later this year.) This gives us more readings from Luke’s Gospel – including Jesus being rejected in his home town, his call to go and fish for people, and what is known as Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain, and some hard hitting sayings that are similar to their longer form in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. In Epiphany (the word means ‘revealing’) light is shone on Jesus to reveal more about him, and light shines from him into our lives, and our church, and the world.
Advent is an important time of preparation – not for Christmas festivities – but for the birth of God incarnate. As part of that, we are going to take a look at the ancestresses of Jesus, who are named in the first chapter of Matthew (Matthew’s begats). The five listed, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary have important stories that help us understand God’s work in the world before actually becoming human. We don’t usually hear much about them, because they don’t all appear in the lectionary. I think one big reason for this is their stories are a bit Rrated.