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40 Days with Cartoon Church – Day 2 – Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Did You Hear the One About… 40 Days with Cartoon Church

Day 2 – Thursday after Ash Wednesday

 cleaning-sundayFrom the Scriptures:

In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. 21 All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work. 22 Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

2 Timothy 2:20-22

For Reflection:

 St John the Baptist, Felixstowe is a rather splendid Victorian building made world famous by John Betjeman’s poem ‘The Last of her Order’. There is something quintessentially ‘Church of England’ wrapped up in this stanza:

Across the grass the poplar shades grow longer

And louder clang the waves along the coast.

The band packs up. The evening breeze is stronger

And all the world goes home to tea and toast.

I hurry past a cake shop’s tempting scones

Bound for the red brick twilight of St. John’s.

Life is not all misquoted Psalm and journeyman Julian of Norwich, living in this Victorian barn of a church. The building has just passed it’s centenary and is showing her age a little – anyone got £50 000 to spare to fix tiles and replace the lead on the southern slopes of the roof? For only £75 000 we could do the whole roof!

And it is not just the fabric that challenges our parishioners it is the cleaning thereof. Spiders seem to have no fear of heights whatsoever and weave their wonderful webs high in the clerestories and make their own unique tapestry to decorate the great west window. Spring-cleaning weekend, we can’t manage with just ‘Cleaning Sunday’ requires many tins of Brasso, dusters, and pots and pots of tea. This year our local Air Cadets are hoping that by retrofitting a remote controlled drone with feather dusters they can make short work of the spider webs…

Of course the answer to our church cleaning problems is to do a little bit frequently rather than leaving things until it is so bad you have to ask the fire brigade to come and hose down the taller windows so that there is enough light to sing hymns by!

And so it is in our spiritual life, a little regular tidying up – building habits of studying God’s Word and listening for God’s voice – is far better than the devotional equivalent of a ‘Binge and Purge’ diet. Yes, Lent is a good time to clean out the kitchen cupboards of our souls but if we are not careful we can too easily end up ‘Bingeing’ as we ‘Purge’ and end up with a bad dose of spiritual bulimia. It is too easy, in the early days of Lent to become a member of ‘The Church of the Latter Day Flagellants’.

This Lent, if we can be honest in front of the gaze of the One Who Loves us Best, each of us will be led to many good and godly ways of remaining close to that Love beyond this season. As you travel look out for good habits to take into your daily life after Easter. In this way we will indeed, by God’s grace, become ‘dedicated and useful to the owner of the house.’

For Prayer:

Lord, our redeemer,

may you bring us back to wholeness

as our world is shattered by selfishness,

greed and oppression.

Forgive us for we have departed from your reign

of equality, righteousness and harmony in justice.

Forgive us for our shortcomings and weaknesses:

we gained security, satisfaction and advantages

at the misery and starvation of other people.

Grant that we be bound by your covenant

to do good and pursue justice.

Ecumenical Asia-Pacific Student and Youth Network

 

To Do:  

  • Sometime this Lent offer to clean something in your church.
  • As Lent proceeds take note of prayer patterns or good habits you can use every day of your journey home.

 

Further Reading:

 

Felixstowe, or The Last of Her Order

by Sir John Betjeman

With one consuming roar along the shingle

The long wave claws and rakes the pebbles down

To where its backwash and the next wave mingle,

A mounting arch of water weedy-brown

Against the tide the off-shore breezes blow.

Oh wind and water, this is Felixstowe

In winter when the sea winds chill and shriller

Than those of summer, all their cold unload

Full on the gimcrack attic of the villa

Where I am lodging off the Orwell Road,

I put my final shilling in the meter

And only make my loneliness completer.

In eighteen ninety-four when we were founded,

Counting our Reverend Mother we were six,

How full of hope we were and prayer-surrounded

“The Little Sisters of the Hanging Pyx”.

We built our orphanage. We built our school.

Now only I am left to keep the rule.

Here in the gardens of the Spa Pavilion

Warm in the whisper of the summer sea,

The cushioned scabious, a deep vermillion,

With white pins stuck in it, looks up at me

A sun-lit kingdom touched by butterflies

And so my memory of the winter dies.

Across the grass the poplar shades grow longer

And louder clang the waves along the coast.

The band packs up. The evening breeze is stronger

And all the world goes home to tea and toast.

I hurry past a cake shop’s tempting scones

Bound for the red brick twilight of St. John’s.

“Thou knowest my down sitting and mine uprising”

Here where the white light burns with steady glow

Safe from the vain world’s silly sympathising,

Safe with the love I was born to know,

Safe from the surging of the lonely sea

My heart finds rest, my heart finds rest in Thee.

 

Acknowledgements:

All Cartoons are copyright © Dave Walker. Please visit http://www.cartoonchurch.com if you would like to laugh even more J

Prayers are from the collection ‘Praying with the World Church’ compiled by USPG.

Please support their work by visiting http://www.uspg.org.uk

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