We are one parish with the good fortune of having two churches in Surbiton with their own histories and styles.
Our church is the sort of church that follows the 'liturgical season', by which I mean we change how the church looks according to whether it's Christmas or Easter... or Lent. At St Mark's, the altar cloth is now our 'Lent' altar cloth. It's purple with a beautiful design featuring the Greek 'alpha' and 'omega', the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, a cross and some weighing scales.
It's a powerful image. It pushes forward in your head the idea of weighing up your life, which is just right for Lent. The Church in Lent asks us each to limit a part of our lives, in order to realign ourselves with what is essential.
Changing one's diet (giving up chocolate or whatever) is a good, traditional way to mark this. However, I was interested when Janice, our reader, revealed in a sermon that she's giving up not food or drink but rather social media: twitter and facebook. It was particularly interesting because from the outside, Janice is not some teenager obsessing about her social media output. And yet she has noticed in herself something about social media that draws her away from living out what God wants towards a different focus that draws her away from God.
This isn't for everyone, but it's a sign of an active faith that is concerned with distraction from God and focus on God. May Lent be for you a time when you're drawn closer to God.
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1 March 2015
The Churches Together Lent Course: Philomena has now started. Still spaces at St Mark’s vicarage on Thursday nights at 8pm, if you can put up with the vicar as facilitator.
Lent Lunches are starting on Wednesday 25th February for 5 weeks until Wednesday 25th March. These will be at St Andrew’s at 12 noon for a bowl of soup, served with a salad. The cost is £4, in aid of the Bishop’s Lent Appeal.
Women’s World Day of Prayer
On Friday 6th March praying for Bahamas: At John Bunyan Baptist Church, Kingston at 10.30am with Rev’d Carole Bourne speaking and at Emmanuel Church Tolworth at 7.30pm, with Mrs Becky Whiting speaking. All are welcome.