I always think February is a rather odd month. After the Christmas rush, Epiphany story and settlement into the normal pace of life, I find February a bit dismal. Yes the days are lengthening but winter still holds its sting and the burst of Spring has not quite reached us – or has it??
The most significant focus and interest tends to be St Valentine’s Day. Although it has become lost in time in terms of its origins, it is recognised as a significant cultural, religious and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love.
St Valentine did exist. He was a Priest in Rome in the third century AD. There is some evidence that shows more than one Priest was tortured and executed around this time for advocating Christian marriage and became martyred for their faith. Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought married men were poor soldiers. St Valentine was beaten with clubs and beheaded on February 14 AD 270. He would not renounce his faith or compromise that he believed in.
During Medieval times a common belief in England and France was that birds began to pair on 14 February as Chaucer wrote in his “Parliament of Fowles”. For this reason the day was dedicated to “lovers”.
Although thought to be a secular day, there is a Christian message that should be remembered. The love of our Lord is a sacrificial, selfless and unconditional love. We are all called to express this in our own lives, for God and for neighbour. Quite often this can be a challenge, especially for those who have loved and lost, have been disappointed or continue to search for something they don’t understand. Love can be a hard option.
On this Valentine’s Day 2019 dedicate your love to the Lord, for only by doing so can we properly love those who are entrusted to his care. Jesus said “this is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15: 12-13. St Valentine fulfilled this command, and may we do the same, by understanding love comes in many forms, love is the foundation of relationships and family life, love is something many search for and never find, love can be lost but never forgotten. Love makes the world go round, but nothing can be greater than the love God has for all who come to him with a willing heart, an open mind, and a call that is special, cherished and valued. Share your love daily. A kind word, a prayer, a note or a Valentine’s card. At no point is your love ever wasted.
Café Church on Sunday 14 October
This month we continued our harvest theme with further discussion about the work of RABI (Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute) and their support to farmers in distress. We decided to look to the bible to see where there is support and guidance for people working on the land, sea and with herds of animals, growing grain, fruit and vegetables to feed families. Do we in High Legh offer our discipleship to the families farming the land which surrounds our village? We can learn patience from those waiting for the seed to grow, the work that is put in at the beginning (ploughing and preparing), with faith acting as a stabiliser, the crop ripening at different times as individual plants. The field eventually ripens as a whole. It is much like our Christian faith journey.
We assume farming is a healthy job, working outside with a crop to be proud of but this is not always the case. Many farmers suffer loss through death and disease, work long hours at the mercy of the climate and have long hours alone leading to loneliness. Many suffer financial loss leading to depression and suicide. Let us remember what the bible says:
“ Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. “ 2 Corinthians 9:10
Next time you see someone working in a field or sitting on a tractor, say hello and be grateful for all that they do to provide us with our daily bread.
Revd Trish, Stewart, Christine, Mags and Karen
Stewart Jackson is currently undertaking a two year course to become a Pastoral Worker.
As part of the course he is developing a project which will benefit the church pastorally. His idea is to develop a children's area at the back of the church in the garden. This will sit alongside the Quiet Garden which was developed a few years ago. He and the pastoral team are hoping to use this outside space for the development of children's ministry, involving children who attend Messy Church, the Storytelling service and the Rock Solid Youth Group.
If you keep an eye on the back fo the church you will be able to watch the garden evolve and Stewart is always available if you would like to find out more or have any ideas for its future development.
Please pray for the growth of children's ministry in our church.
The death of Stephen Hawking during the time that we were undertaking our lent course based on the film, 'The Theory of Everything' was poignant. We all felt that we knew so much about him already, through our discussions, as the newspapers were filled with long obituaries for this amazing genius.
Our last Storytelling was on Mothering Sunday,11th March