A beautiful friendship by Colin Such

Posted 2/11/2018 2:10:00 PM

“A beautiful friendship” – that’s the title of our Lent course this year – a course using scenes from the film Casablanca to direct our thinking on our relationship with God and the world today and what that means for our understanding of the gospel.

It’s a film that takes place in the war but not on the frontline; instead it concentrates on a few displaced and forgotten refugees. In a world today of displaced and forgotten people (in all sorts of ways - physically, politically, emotionally and spiritually) the course hopefully will have much to make us think and pray about our part in that world and the message we hope to share.

This month begins, as ever, with the feast of Candlemas. It’s a wonderful feast full of imagery as we physically turn from the crib and the Christmas scene to face the font and the cross (St. Paul reminds us that those who are baptised are baptised into the death of Christ) and so we turn from Christmas to Lent, Holy Week and Easter.

It seems to me that we are at a turning point in the year too. Whilst in Candlemas we turn to the font and yet it’s not quite Lent, that begins on February 14th (Can you eat the chocolates your Valentine buys you or do you have to wait until Easter?) so too the days are getting longer and (sometimes) warmer, and yet it’s not quite spring.

In church we’re beginning again our preparations for this year’s Annual Parochial Meeting and the election of churchwardens and church councillors and various church members are (hopefully) writing their reports to present to the meeting.

For my dogs everything is new, - usually a cause of barking until the novelty of whatever it is has worn off and becomes normal - usually it is someone having the nerve to work in their own garden (I can’t do mine yet as it is far too wet, most mornings a heron stands in what looks like a shallow pool but is in fact the lawn!)

For most of us it is just the case of another year rolling past with ever increasing speed – we’ve already got the dates for this year’s Christmas Fayre and Christmas Draw!

Candlemas is held 40 days after Christmas and marks two feasts, the purification of Mary according to the law and the presentation of the child to redeem him from under the Law of Moses. Everything is new and full of potential with the future stretching ahead. The redemption that Christ will bring will be through his suffering on the cross to which we now turn.

I hope our Lent course will help us to see the world and our relationship with it and with others in a new light. I hope it helps us see our friendship with God through Christ in a new way too.

Walking with the dogs is helping me see the world with new eyes as they experience things for the first time, the first blush of green appearing on the trees and the birds calling to each other. Every day I am reminded just how beautiful the world can be (despite the mud and rain).

I hope that both our worship together and our learning together this Lent will remind us all what a beautiful friendship we have with each other, with our God and with the world that he has made.