22nd February 2015

fr_simonDear Friends,

Lent is an Old English word which means Springtime. Spring is my favorite month, it is such an optimistic season, so full of hope and expectation. I adore walking the dogs through the woods watching the buds on the trees grow into full leaf.
What is Lent for? It’s an opportunity for growth, it’s an opportunity for joy, it certainly isn’t a miserable season. Its a time to explore our relationship with God through Jesus. Perhaps it’s a time to consider who and what Jesus is, how does he impact my life and relationships? What about prayer and the Church? If these questions are important for you, why not join us on a Tuesday evening at 8pm in the Parish Hall when we are exploring these very issues.

With my prayers

Fr Simon

Dear Friends,

You might be familiar with Professor Oliver Sacks, eighty one, the world famous neurologist and writer. He has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and wrote a very moving article last week in the New York Times. He writes with honesty and fluency. I want to share some edited elements of his article this week. As I preached on Sunday, there is something about wilderness living and being drawn through death in order to fully experience new life. Oliver teaches us that as important as it is to live well, it is equally important – if at all possible – to prepare ourselves for a good death….

“I feel grateful that I have been granted nine years of good health and productivity since the original diagnosis, but now I am face to face with dying. The cancer occupies a third of my liver, and though its advance may be slowed, this particular sort of cancer cannot be halted. It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can.

Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life. On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.

This will involve audacity, clarity and plain speaking; trying to straighten my accounts with the world. But there will be time, too, for some fun (and even some silliness, as well).I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.

I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and travelled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure”.

With every blessing,

Fr Andrew


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