Saturday, 30 January 2010

February 2010 Newsletter

St Piran & St Michael’s Church, Perranuthnoe


Stories are important to us. Whether they be stories about our national or local history, stories about 'what make us the people that we are'; or fairy stories that we tell our children to warn them of the dangers in our world, or whether it be keeping abreast of the latest unfolding and developing dramas and stories on the television news. We all like a good story.

One of the privileges of my job is that I have the opportunity to hear peoples' stories. Over the past six months, as your new Rector, I've started to make my way around the Benefice, and have been privileged to begin to be invited to share in lives and tales. I've heard about what is important, what brings joy and, sometimes, also what problems or difficulties people have had to overcome in their lives, whether financial or in relationships or struggles with poor health. I've also heard about people's personal walk with God, how the golden thread of faith has been interwoven into the events of lives and journeys. And I've learnt afresh that everyone has a story to tell.

The problem with the stories in our faith is that they become over-familiar to us. We think we've heard them all before, that they have nothing more to tell us or teach us or say to us. We think we know what they are all about, and we stop listening to them. In St Ignatius' Way of Prayer he taught his Jesuits to imagine themselves from the perspective of one of the characters in the narrative, and so more fully enter into the unfolding Biblical account, making the stories more present and real, for them to become as it were participants in the Gospel stories, as if they were happening today, in the here and now. In 2000 the BBC produced eight vignettes or monologues of about fifteen minutes each, an imaginative re-interpretation of people who had met Jesus, but taken from a slightly different perspective, a slightly different angle on the story, producing new insights onto familiar and well-known characters in the Biblical account of the Passion: people like the Centurion, the Thief on the Cross or Pontius Pilate's wife. It is similar to Alan Bennett's 'Talking Heads'. As we watch these little accounts together this Lent, and we realise that everyone has a story to tell, it will help us to engage afresh with the people who were around Jesus, 'The People of the Passion', who had contact with Jesus in his life and so, on reflection, help us to build up a better picture of Jesus himself as he heads towards the dramatic and seminal events of Holy Week and Easter-tide.

As Christians, we too are 'People of the Passion' (although we don't live at the same historical time as Jesus himself) we are people who hold to the belief that Jesus' Life, Death and Resurrection is the most important story in human history, and that Jesus' story brings the promise of forgiveness, restoration, renewal and new life to everyone and to our own life stories too. At Lent, we place Jesus' story at the centre of our lives and our stories, and it may be that we decide to do something to acknowledge this in as practical way in our own life, by 'giving up something' to remember Jesus' own fasting and praying in the wilderness or 'taking up' a new thing, by joining a Lent Group or Lent Lunch or re-galvanising our prayer-time, so that during this forty day season we may draw closer to Jesus and his story and that his story interweaves more strongly and visibly in our lives throughout this precious time of Lent.

I pray that during this Lent we will listen again to the Biblical stories, we may enter it all anew and afresh and that it will inform our own life stories and our own journeying with God today.
May we have a blessed and holy Lent together,

Best Wishes,

Revd Nigel Marns
Rector: Ludgvan, Marazion, Perranuthnoe & St Hilary