Making a mark

If you were out and about on Wednesday February 26th, in village, town or city – you might have noticed people with what looked like a smudge of dirt on their foreheads.

Of course it might have been just a smudge of dirt. But Wednesday 26th was Ash Wednesday, so the mark might have been the remains of a cross, marked in ash, marking the beginning of Lent.

The ash is a sign of repentance. It’s made by burning last year’s palm crosses. Among other things, it represents the way our highest aspirations, our hopes to be the very best version of the person we could be – often come to nothing.

So it may be that you are giving something up for Lent – it is a good time to practice self-discipline. But you might prefer to do something extra instead. Here are some possibilities.

Compline in Lent. 9.45pm in church for a short, quiet service to end the day. Tuesdays at Branston, Wednesdays at Nocton and Thursdays at Potterhanworth.

Lent Communion and Lunches on Wednesdays, from March 4ththrough to April 1st, 12.00noon in Branston Church Hall.

Another possibility is to commit yourself to 20:20 Prayers – pray for 20 minutes, every day at 8.20pm, right through Lent. There are some booklets in church if you’d like a starter.

I know one person who has committed to read a psalm a day.

Or if the climate crisis is on your mind, you can count your blessings with Christian Aid. Free copies of this year’s booklet, ‘Faith’s fields of hope’, available in church here in Nocton, or at Potterhanworth (where the church is open every day).

Or if you’d prefer to talk with other people, come to this year’s Thursday afternoon Lent group – which will be looking at Rembrandt’s famous painting ‘The Return of the Prodigal’. Sign up on the list in church.

Whatever you choose to do – now is the time to let Lent make its mark on you.

Love Lorna

Rector of Branston with Nocton and Potterhanworth