Now we are settling into the new Rectory, and my time is once again fully focussed on doing mainly what the Church pays stipend for, it's good to mark this "new beginning" with Ash Wednesday. If ever there was a day for "new beginnings" this is it!
And so, with millions of others today, I'm looking for a new start! I'll ash and be ashed, and the words of the Liturgy which never cease to move me will move me again.
In many ways for me it will be the mark of a new ministry. Over eight years ago my bishop suggested I should look at Dumbarton as an option, and said that I would need to get a restoration going on the church building, see it through, try to replace the hall, and, if possible find an affordable rectory that fitted canonical requirements. Well, we've managed that, the folk here and me! (But mostly them!)
It's time to re-evaluate my ministry, as well as my life, in my new base, and see if I can set new goals and new targets for the future of this place as well as for me. Ash Wednesday. A wonderful time for this new beginning.
It's a day when many Christians will look at their past, as I will, and see in there many things that need to be changed or at least made better. In AA, on Step Four, we are asked to make a fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves. In many ways the Church asks us to do the same today. However, whenever I'm helping folk with their Fourth Step, I always insist that they look back and identify the good things and the positives as well as the disasters and the negatives. We're not all just big dollops of sin you know! Within each of us is the glory and love of God, and despite our weaknesses and failures, it's there, and shines through anyway.
So,yes, I'll repent of my sin, but I'll not forget to give thanks for my positives as I enter a sort of "new era"!