Monday, 28 February 2011

March 2011 Newsletter

Feasting and Fasting

‘The Lord Almighty will prepare a banquet for all nations of the world: a banquet of the richest food and the finest wine’ (Isaiah 25:6).

It seems strange to encourage you to ‘Feast’ in this coming Season of Lent, which we usually associate with ‘fasting’, denial and Jesus’ refusal to ‘turn stones to bread’ in the wilderness, despite his hunger (Matthew 4:3-4).

The Medieval Calendar was constantly punctuated by ‘high days and holy days’, days of ‘fasting’ and abstinence as well as days of ‘feasting’ (particularly on a Saints Day or a Sunday). All the rich colour and variety of that Medieval pattern of life and work, of denial and celebration, has been lost to us more than six centuries on: perhaps, the only things that still remain is the tradition of having fish on Fridays (‘fasting’ as Friday is the Day of Our Lord’s death) and the Family Roast on Sunday (‘feasting’ on the Day of Our Lord’s Resurrection). So just donning ‘sackcloth and ashes’ for the forty day Season of Lent and making ourselves miserable is not ‘the kind of fasting God requires’ (Isaiah 58:3-5).

In Lent, we have an opportunity to strip away all that has accrued to us over this past year (a spiritual ‘Springclean’) to concentrate on what truly matters, our relationship with God and to deepen our walk with Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. By following Jesus into the wilderness and to watch his temptations, we can better understand our own temptations in life, and so, Lent, as well as being a time of ‘fasting’, can be a time of ‘feasting’ too, as we draw nearer to Christ and his life lived for us.

And there is much for us to ‘feast’ on in our Benefice this Lent. After the United Benefice Ash Wednesday 9 March Service at Perranuthnoe, where those who would like to can receive the Imposition of Ashes, the following day (Thursday 10 March) Lent Sacred Space begins at Marazion and will run throughout Lent most days (except Sundays & Mondays) at 4pm until Maundy Thursday. If you need a time of solace and reflection, please drop into Marazion anyday. We shall be following a lively new translation of St Matthew’s Gospel by Tom Wright for our daily Bible Readings in Sacred Space.

The following Wednesdays (beginning 16 March) at both 11am at Perranuthnoe and 7pm at Ludgvan our Lent Course begins. ‘Not A Tame Lion’ is a Lent course based on the writings, thinking and films of C.S. Lewis: we shall be watching film clips from ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ films and the story of C.S.Lewis’ late blossoming love to Joy Gresham) to explore the rich ‘feast’ of Lewis’ writings and imagination to draw us closer to the life of Jesus and his call and meaning and purpose in our lives. We will be considering themes of loss, suffering, God’s absence and Resurrection.

Wednesday 17 March (and subsequent Wednesdays) will see some fine soups
(I remember from last year) at Marazion for the Lent Lunches and there will also be a Lent lunch after the Sunday Service on 13 March at Ludgvan and at Perranuthnoe after the AGM and Celebration Service on 20 March. Many of the proceeds from these more frugal and restrained meals will go to our Benefice Lent Appeal: through the lunches and by saving the money we would otherwise spend on indulgences (chocolate, alcohol etc we give up during Lent) we hope to raise £750.00 to ‘Send a Cow’ to an African village and to do ‘the kind of fasting God requires (Isaiah 58:6).

Lent is this strange mixture of ‘fasting’, but also ‘feasting’ on God too. May we recapture something of the ancient monks’ understanding of both celebration and denial, resistance and joy in our Benefice this Lent. May we have a good ‘Feast’ and a good ‘Fast’ in Lent 2011 and come well-prepared, well-fed , watered and nurtured to celebrate the greatest ‘Feast’ of them all: the Passion, Death & Resurrection of Jesus in Holy Week and on Easter Day.

Revd Nigel Marns
Rector, The United Benefice of Mounts Bay (Ludgvan, Marazion, St Hilary & Perranuthnoe)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

February 2011 Newsletter

‘Christianity Explored’

As the New Year dawns upon us, and the festivities and joy of Christmas recedes into distant memory, it is good to take up a new challenge, and to do a new thing.

I came upon a new and exciting course, run by a Cornishman and a rugby man, Rico Tice, called ‘Christianity Explored’. The course will run for ten weeks, beginning on Friday 4 February (and Fridays following) at the Cutty Sark Pub in Marazion. The idea of the Course is to meet for mid-morning coffee or tea in the pleasant setting of the Cutty Sark Large Room at 10.45am, watch a lively and modern DVD together that will challenge many peoples’ assumptions or commonly-held views of Christianity, and over the next hour, until 12 noon, to engage with them.

Over the ten weeks, in Marazion, we will explore the questions that cut to the heart of Christianity: who was Jesus? Why did He come? What is involved in following Him? It is an opportunity to ask questions, however simple or difficult they are, and we will do it by looking at the shortest account of Jesus Life, the Gospel of Mark.

It is good to have the opportunity to come together, to discuss with others the nature of our faith, to better grasp what it is in our Christian faith we are following and believing in.

In Ludgvan and Perranuthnoe over the Autumn, and also finishing in February, we have been looking at the Mission of the Early Church and considering our own Mission as a Church Today, through studying ‘The Acts of the Apostles’, and, soon, look out for our Lent Courses there, beginning in March. But it will be good to have a Course, specifically based in Marazion (and we are hoping our friends from Marazion Chapel will join us), but open to everyone in the Benefice, and especially to those wanting an opportunity to explore and go a bit deeper into our faith, and an opportunity to question and engage with the doubts and unanswered questions we have about Christianity and the nature of Jesus in a clear and systematic way.

If you are free on Friday mornings, please come along (and if you can’t make every session come to the ones you can). Go on, do a new thing in 2011.

Happy February Exploring,
Revd Nigel Marns