Welcome to S. Michael’s. Today is the last Sunday before we begin Lent, and the readings have a strong theme of call and response for us to consider.
Like Isaiah, when we come to the Eucharist we are called into the presence of the One who overwhelms us with his holiness. Our response to this is reverence. Reverence is humility in which we remember who God is and who we are as human beings. Our initial response to the goodness and holiness of God is to recoil because we feel inadequate or unclean. Yet it is the very nature of God to want us, not to grovel in the naughty corner, but with all our shortcomings to go forth and be ambassadors of his love in the world.
In today’s reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians S. Paul says, “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received.” This has been called the stewardship of the faith. We are called to pass on the resurrection faith that we have received. Sometimes we find it hard to know how to talk about our faith and our tradition. The purpose of the Lent Series coming up is to give us words to speak of what we believe to others who are looking for words of hope and life.
When we start to do this we can quickly find ourselves in the deep. The level of people’s questions and needs can be quite overwhelming, and perhaps we find ourselves rowing quickly back into the shallows and away from where the catch will be found. The purpose of the season of Lent which is about to begin is to deepen our faith in the God who will not abandon us to our fears.
In this Mass today, and during the next few days, I encourage you to consider what you will do this Lent by way of reverence to the holiness of God and to equip yourself to be a catcher of people. As we place our palm cross in the bowl to be burnt for ashes, we recognise how our hosannas have at times rung hollow in relation to our deeds, or lack of them, over the past year. We receive the mark of ashes on our head in the Ash Wednesday Mass to signify our desire to turn back to God once more.
Yours in Christ
Fr Andrew Starky
• Reminder: the current Trumpet email address is printed every week on page 2.
• Sales Table: in the hall after Mass today. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
• You are invited to a cup of tea or coffee after the evening service each Sunday.
• Flowers in Transition: displays by Jenny Gillies and Patricia Proctor at the Cathedral until 15 February. Entry $8.
• Outreach Committee: Tuesday 7:30 pm in the lounge. Details Michael Graveston.
• Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
• Lenten Breakfast: Saturday 9:45 am in the parish lounge. Details Anne Ladd
• Bible Study Group meets next on 15 February, 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
• Bishopspark Open Day: 17 February 1:30 – 4:00 pm. Afternoon tea provided.
• Earthquake Commemoration: there will be a Requiem Mass at S. Michael’s on Monday 22 February at 7:00 pm.
• World Day of Prayer will be held this year at S. Michael’s, 4 March at 11:00 am. Details to follow.
• Headspace: 10 March 9:00 am–2:00 pm, Grace Vineyard Church, 150 Ferry Rd. A pastoral training day with health specialists, equipping and resourcing leaders in the church for the future health of our churches and communities and focusing on mental, emotional and community health. Speakers include Bishop Victoria. Free entry, lunch provided. Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org or 366 3437. Register with email@example.com for catering.
• Needlework Group meets monthly. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
• Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
• Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.
• Today’s Voluntaries at Evensong: composer Alexandra Thomson (1867–1907). The daughter of William Thomson, Archbishop of York, she studied under John Naylor, the organist at York Minster, and composed a number of works for organ, solo voice and choir. She emigrated to New Zealand in 1897.