April letter to the parish

This month’s letter to the parish comes from our ALM for prayer and spirituality, Carol O:

Dear Friends

We are now in Lent a time of change in our lives, as you read this letter Holy Week will have begun, also a time of great change in our Church; of suffering but also of new life; new adventures; new ways of worshipping Christ in our churches and communities. Times change, we cannot stay the same, we need to move on in our lives and particularly in Church in this time of interregnum and uncertainty.

Sadly, life can include disappointments, losses, and heartaches. When they happen, it can cause a sense of hopelessness especially when they seem to affect what we thought was going to be our future. Overnight it can feel like we have no future and all our hopes and dreams have been shattered. Without notice, catastrophic events shut down our daily lives, cancelling and changing our plans.

Lent, a season that focuses on change. Change, whether on the mountain top of life or in the valley of the shadow of death is a reality for us all. One of the things I am aware of amid change is how many voices begin to speak. Some are outside of me, and some are from within. There are voices of self-doubt, self-criticism, and all the “would’ves, should’ves, and could’ves. Not every voice, however, is helpful or worth listening to. The story of the transfiguration says there is only one voice to listen to. The voice of God, the voice of Jesus Christ.

 What if, amid change we seek to hear and listen to that one voice, the voice of Christ? What if we kept our ears open to what he is saying in our life and world today? To let ourselves become aware of and attentive to what he is saying and doing. It would mean that whatever change comes upon us it does not have the final word, Jesus speaks a word of life, of hope, of forgiveness, of mercy, of beauty, a word of generosity, of courage, of love, of healing. Jesus speaks to and me. Are we listening to his voice?

Change often brings about fear – the fear of losing what we love, value, and desire. Amid the change Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.” His words do not magically eliminate our fear. Instead, they are the call to take a first step into a new and changed life despite our fear. They are the assurance, that change, does not have the final word, Christ does.

Easter: Christ is Risen; New beginnings; both in our private lives and in our Church life. Listen to God; he has plans for all of us. Do not falter; get up; be raised. It’s the promise that though life has changed, it has not ended. Somehow new life is hidden during change, even when we cannot see it or do not believe it. God uses the changing circumstances of our lives to bring us into new life.

Every Blessing this Easter

Carol Olive

Authorised Lay Minister (Worship with Prayer & Spirituality)

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