Focussing on what actually matters

As we begin our Lenten pilgrimage, I am sure that we are all doing so with a mixture of feelings.  One thing that has struck me particularly forcefully this year in the readings at services during the first days of Lent is the way that we are encouraged not to put on a false appearance of suffering as we adopt our Lenten discipline.  I think that this is a reaction to where we all might be at present; as I said last Sunday, there are many things we have already given up – and giving up even more may not be what we are called to do this Lent.

Every year I struggle to give things up for Lent.  This year I have so far managed three days without ‘between meal snacks’ – but it may be dangerous to ask me whether I keep this record up into the second week of Lent!  Giving up can be a help, but it can also be a hinderance – I always find that I am thinking far more about what I am trying not to do, than anything else I would be better doing!

For some years there have been suggestions of not giving up, but taking up things for Lent.  Whilst this is a good thing – perhaps to take up reading the bible in a more intentional way, to decide to do a good deed each day – it too runs the risk of distracting us from the core and central purpose of Lent, which is to help us grow closer to God, and prepare us to mark the events of Holy Week and celebrate the hope and joy of the Resurrection at Easter.

It is perhaps a focus on the things we are ‘giving up for Lent’ that means that Lent sometimes gets a bad press – it becomes a season of the Church year that we seem not to look forward to.  However, to me it has some of the most beautiful poetry and music of the year (running a tight race with the other ‘penitential’ season of Advent!), and this means there is much to look forward to not only in anticipating the glory of Easter, but in the pilgrimage of Lent itself.  So as we embark on this Lent, could I encourage you (and ask you to encourage me) to focus not on what we have given up, but on what actually matters – on finding ways that help us grow closer to God, finding things that bring us hope, and sharing things that give us joy.

 NICK BROWN, PRECENTOR

Worship & Mission

World Day of Prayer
The (Women’s) World Day of Prayer takes place on the first Friday of March each year, and this year falls on Friday 5th March.  This year the local organisers have decided not to hold an in person event.  However, there will be an online service via Zoom taking place at 3 30pm on that afternoon.  For log-in details, please contact the vergers or Precentor.

Holy Week
Although the exact format of services during Holy Week depends on the government guidance in place at the time, our current plans for services are as follows:


28 March: PALM SUNDAY
7.45am Litany
8am Holy Communion (BCP)
10.30am Sung Eucharist with blessing of palms and reading or singing of the passion
3.45pm EVENSONG*

29 March: Monday in Holy Week
8am Morning Prayer
12.30pm Eucharist
5.30pm Evening Prayer
7.30pm Address and Compline

30 March: Tuesday in Holy Week
8am Morning Prayer
8.30am Holy Communion
5.30pm EVENSONG*
7.30pm Address and Compline

31 March: Wednesday in Holy Week
8am Morning Prayer
12.30pm Eucharist
5.30pm Evening Prayer
7.30pm Tenebrae: An evening service for Holy Week

1 April: MAUNDY THURSDAY
8am Morning Prayer
8.30am Holy Communion
5.30pm Evening Prayer
7.30pm EUCHARIST OF THE LAST SUPPER

2 April: GOOD FRIDAY
9.30am LITURGY OF GOOD FRIDAY
12noon Three Hours Service
5.30pm Evening Prayer

3 April: EASTER EVE
9am Morning Prayer
4.30pm Evening Prayer
8pm EASTER VIGIL AND FIRST EUCHARIST OF EASTER*

4 April: EASTER DAY
7.45am Litany
8am Holy Communion (BCP)
10.30am SUNG EUCHARIST with Blessing of the Easter Garden and Renewal of Baptismal Promises
3.45pm EVENSONG*

Please note: * if government guidance remains unchanged, then these services (which involve the choir singing) will be online only.

Intercessory Prayer
When it is possible to do meet in person, I hope to arrange an introductory session to explore intercessory prayer.  This is intended to be suitable for those who would like to understand this as part of their own prayer life as well as those who may feel called to lead the public intercessions during our services.  Obviously planning is fluid, but anyone who might be interested in more information is invited to contact the Precentor (by e-mail to nick.brown@lincolncathedral.com or by note to The Precentory, 2 Pottergate)

Prayer List
The list of people who we hold in prayer, and is used for our public intercessions, is maintained by the vergers.  Please contact the vergers if you know of someone whose name needs to be added – but please check that they are happy for their name to be used publicly in prayers that are often streamed internationally on the internet!  Generally, names of those who are sick will be removed from the list after four weeks (this is in order to prevent us continuing to pray for people who no longer need our prayers), and those who have died will be on the list for two Sundays or, where we know the date, until the Sunday after the funeral has taken place.

Community

Helen Walker RIP
Many of you will have heard in our intercessions that Helen Walker, a long-standing member of the congregation who made a significant contribution both to the life of the cathedral and local community died recently aged 92, with covid 19.

She had been a member of the cathedral worshipping community for half a century. After a spell as a missionary doctor in Assam she came to  Lincoln County Hospital as a surgeon-gynaecologist. Countless lincolnians owe their lives to her skills – including the chairman of the LCCA! Her great legacy is St. Barnaba Hospice which she helped to found in the 1970s.
Christopher Laurence

Helen’s funeral will take place in the cathedral but, due to the current restrictions, attendance is restricted to those invited by the family – but please give thanks for her life and hold her family in your prayers at this time.

Joanna Blanchard
Congratulations to our very own Joanna Blanchard. Jo has not only passed but obtained an A grade in the Church of England Guild of Vergers Diploma Course Pastoral Unit. She has not only studied the ‘Pastoral’ unit but she works and lives with pastoral care at her core.

Congratulations my friend – now it’s on to the next unit, only two more to go.

John G Campbell
Chairman Lincoln / Southwell Branch CEGV.

Bible Readings

Sunday 21 February
First Sunday of Lent

Eucharist
Genesis 9: 8-17
1 Peter 3: 18-end
Mark 1: 9-15

Evening Prayer
Genesis 2: 15-17 3: 1-7
Romans 5: 12-19

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Sunday 7 March
Second Sunday of Lent

Eucharist
Genesis 17: 1-7, 15-16
Romans 4: 13-end
Mark 8: 31-end

Evening Prayer
Genesis 12: 1-9
Hebrews 11: 1-3, 8-16

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Sunday 14 March February
Third Sunday of Lent

Eucharist
Exodus 20: 1-17
1 Corinthians 1: 18-25
John 2: 13-22

Evening Prayer
Exodus 5: 1 – 6:1
Philippians : 4b- 14

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