Monthly Letter


Dear Friends

This month sees the start of the season of Lent. A time of denial and preparation, readying ourselves for the Festival of Easter. If we are to fully appreciate the whole Passion experience we need as much stamina as we can find. Lent is a time of fasting and reflection. Non-Church attending people often talk about what they will give up for Lent, even if the final outcome is not always about the Passion and the ultimate Sacrifice of Jesus.

I am not sure how valuable a Lenten Fast is, if we are talking merely about depriving ourselves. Giving up a weekend bottle of wine or a daily chocolate bar is all well and good, but surely the point is that we replace the void with something else?

Some may choose to offset the cash saved by donating it to some Charity or other. Here at Menston we support some excellent causes if you are so inclined. Others might choose to make an effort to read the Bible more, or spend more time in prayer, or give some time to help and support someone else. Forty days is a significant length of time.  It is not meant to be easy, rather it is meant to be a costly exercise so that we might begin to understand more about the Easter Message. Out of sacrifice and suffering comes joy and new life.

In our discussion group at Zest as we ponder over the Gospel readings each week. There are many occasions when we are relieved at the base humanity of the disciples, at their shallow understanding of what Jesus is trying to teach them, at their limited capacity to fully comprehend, and at their reluctance to put others before their own needs. In fact the truth of the matter is that often they are so like us. Clearing through one of my boxes the other day, I stumbled upon this poem, which really made me think;

Then Jesus took his disciples up a mountain and gathering them around, he taught them saying:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the meek.

Blessed are they that mourn.

Blessed are the merciful.

Blessed are thy that thirst for justice.

Blessed are you when you are persecuted.

Blessed are you when you suffer.

Be glad and rejoice for great is your reward in the kingdom of heaven,’


Then Simon Peter said, ‘Are we supposed to know all this?’

And Andrew said, ‘Will we have a test on it?’

And James said, ‘Should I have written this down?’

And Philip said, ‘Are we going to get marked for this?’

And Bartholomew said, ‘Do I have to hand this in?’

And John said, ‘The other disciples didn’t have to learn this!’

And Judas said , ‘what has this to do with real life anyway?’

Then one of the Pharisees who was present asked to see Jesus’ Mission Plan and expected outcomes, and enquired of Jesus ‘where are your anticipatory objectives and your speculative research proposals within the cognitive domain’ …

… And Jesus wept.

This Lent my prayer is that we might find ourselves drawn closer to the simple messages of love and service set out by Jesus, and that as we all travel towards the Easter weekend, we might find encouragement and strength from each other. God bless you on your Lenten Pilgrimage.

With very kind wishes,


Revd Andrew Howorth

Associate Vicar









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