Rector's Reflections - 8 February

Rector’s Reflections

Thursday 8th February 2024

Spending Lent with the Corinthians

I finished yesterday’s Reflections by quoting Paul’s pithy advice in the last chapter of his 1st Letter to the Corinthians:  “Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love”.

For St.Paul, love is at the heart of the Christian faith.  God loves us, and the fullest revelation of God’s love is in his Son Jesus Christ. God sends His love to dwell in our midst, in the person of the Holy Spirit, and our role is to accept God’s love into our lives, so that God can transform our lives and our communities for the better.  

This is what spiritual growth is all about - it is what happens when we choose to allow God’s love into our lives, and open ourselves and our communities to the possibility of transformation.

But this isn’t easy for us to do. We have to surrender ourselves to God, and this act of surrender goes against the grain. Throughout our lives, we have been taught to learn to be in control – in control of ourselves, and perhaps in control of others. It takes true courage to surrender ourselves to God, especially in relation to those things which matter most to us. Perhaps this is why St Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians to “stand firm in [their] faith”, to “be courageous”, and to “be strong”.

Opening ourselves up to God’s transforming love is hard, and sometimes it seems quite beyond us, especially if we are weighed down by fear, anger or guilt. At such times we become even more aware of a profound truth:  we cannot grow closer to God by our own  efforts alone. We need to be honest and humble enough to ask for God’s help.

And this leads us naturally into prayer. We might find the following prayer helpful- it’s the Collect for the Sunday before Lent, in the old Book of Common Prayer. “O Lord, who has taught us that all our doings without charity [Christian love] are nothing worth: Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee: Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.”  


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