The origin of Lent is in Christian initiation at Easter, the preparation of candidates for baptism with a fast and eventually the accompanying of the candidates in that 40 day devotion by the whole Church.
Lent at St Giles very much had that flavour this year with the Bishop confirming eight members just before Passiontide, a joyful eucharist which included testimonies to the transformational power of Christ. Some of the newly confirmed also shared brief faith stories with a packed Church at Easter Sunday morning all age eucharist.
People were struck by their range of backgrounds, the spectrum of ages but most of all by the evidence of God at work in their lives. The confirmation candidates were instructed by a local team in the creed, sacraments, commandments and prayer disciplines using Premier Christian Radio's 'Firmly I Believe' apologetics series on listen again.
This Lent as never before at Horsted Keynes I sensed the truth of this powerful verse from Zechariah 8:23: 'Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from nations of every language shall take hold of a Jew, grasping his garment and saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'
Listening to some of the testimonies both occasional and long-standing worshippers were clearly impacted.
This sense of God at work was evident also in those who made their sacramental confession before Easter and in the writing of confidential 'Letters to God' and burning them, as a good proportion of the Easter congregation did, in the flame of the Easter Candle.
Parish life is never straightforward, neat or tidy but the sense of God at work in lives is what really makes ministry worthwhile and helps you bear with the less exciting stuff.