St Barnabas Church, Joydens Wood

Vicar’s Letter March 2018

This year, the whole of March is during the season of Lent.
With Easter Day falling on 1 April, April Fools’ Day!

The month of March, so the proverb goes, comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb. In other words, March often starts with stormy, rough weather, but by the end of the month, the gentler Spring days have come.

We will wait to see if this weather prophecy comes true this year!

Lion and Lamb!

The contrasting images of Lion and Lamb are often used for the person of Jesus in the Bible.

He is seen both the conquering Lion of the ancient tribe of Judah and also as the “Lamb who was slain”. These are descriptions of two aspects of his life and ministry.

In his earthly life, Jesus often brought strong words of challenge to the status quo. He spoke out forcefully and fearlessly against injustice and oppression, and against those who would exploit the poor and the weak. His power was demonstrated in his many miracles. His authority was shown in his preaching and teaching. He was full of courage. He had a deep inner strength. A lion indeed!

And yet Jesus was also full of humility, always ready to walk alongside those weak ones that the wider world ignored. He demonstrated his willingness to serve, most poignantly as he knelt at the feet of his disciples, his friends and followers to wash their feet at the Last Supper he shared with them before his death. In the culture in which he lived, to wash the feet of dinner guests was the role of the slave, the least important member of the household. But Jesus was willing to do the task, when everyone else was avoiding it, because they thought themselves too important.

And then, as Jesus is betrayed and Crucified, he is seen in the role of the lamb that would have been sacrificed in the ancient religious traditions of the Jewish faith, a symbolic offering of repentance for wrong things that had been done, and the opening up of a way of forgiveness.

Through the life, the death and resurrection of Jesus, humankind is offered healing and reconciliation.

I know you will agree with me when I say that Christians today should be demonstrating these same qualities.

Strong as a Lion in challenging injustice and oppression, wherever it is found, yet humble, and willing to serve others whenever the need arises.

As St Barnabas celebrates 25 years as a parish church, on the weekend of 10 and 11 March, we try to live out these principles and will continue to do so.

God bless
Reverend Ren Harding
contact me at The Vicarage, 6 Tile Kiln Lane

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