Letter from our vicar – March 2024

Dear friends,

We are in the season of Lent. It’s a bit like the cyclist going to an intense training camp for a few weeks, which if followed through well, will pay back over the whole of the rest of the year. It’s a bit like a boxer going into training for several weeks of rigorous preparation, knowing that the big day is approaching, and wanting to be as ready as possible.

In St Luke’s, the adults’ Lent Challenge is called ‘Hear the Word’. We commit ourselves to listening to the whole New Testament read to us. The recommendation is to find David Suchet’s set of NIV UK readings on YouTube or similar.

[see YouTube Play List of the whole Bible read by David Suchet: the New Testament starts at item 43]

We commit ourselves to hearing about 25 minutes a day and, by the Easter Weekend, we will have completed the whole New Testament. Like a training camp, we do this well and it will enrich our appetite for hearing God’s word for the rest of the year. Like the boxer’s preparation, it will prepare us for an Easter celebration when we shall have a deeper and longer appreciation of what Jesus has done, and be fuller of the joys of Eastertide.

Did you know that hearing the Bible read to us, is how it was meant to be?! The writers wrote so that the listeners could hear, while expecting that only a relatively few readers would read. Hearing God’s word read is the authentic way to receive the Word of God: listening to a voice reading it, with meaning and skill.

The scriptures were written by hand, by professional scribes, for the first 1400 years of the New Testament Age. Copies of the Bible were quite rare and very valuable. You had to go a distance to find one, and then seek someone who could read, to read it for you.

Only since the invention of the printing press, in the late 15th Century, has it become possible for many of us to have our own copy of the Bible, and be able to read it. Even so, many people in our world are still waiting to their own copy of the Scriptures. Jean and I are members of the Bible Society’s ‘Bible a month club’ to help satisfy the great demand for Bibles around the world.

So let us go into ‘training camp’ mode, for a few weeks. And work hard at one of the most important of Christian spiritual disciplines: Hear the Word.

In St Luke’s, the children of Genesis have a different Lent challenge: the little CofE booklet, wih all sorts of things to do and to pray and to think about over the next 6 and a half weeks.

And, talking of Genesis, we have reached the end of an era. On Palm Sunday, Fiona Pullé and her team are leading the Genesis Sunday children’s group for the last time. Fiona, Jayne and Karen have done a great job, teaching and inspiring the children of St Luke’s for so many years. Fiona has faithfully led this work, through thick and thin, for about 22 years. Jayne and Karen too for much of that time.

On Palm Sunday 24th March we have a Bring & Share lunch in the Church Hall at about 11.45am, to help us say a big Thank You to God, and to each of them. Don’t be put off bringing some good food for that day. Traditionally, those who fast during Lent, break the fast on Sundays. Let’s have a Bring & Share lunch to remember.

Fiona is making preparations to move closer to younger members of her family, a long way South, so we have the task of seeking people to form a new team to take our children’s work forward. Pray that the Lord raises up a team to enable us to have a fruitful Sunday children’s work in the future. It might take a little while. The longer the previous tenure, the harder the adjustment of raising up successors. Please pray and be ready to help.

And come to the Palm Sunday Bring & Share to say a big Thank You.

Yours in Christ,

Rob