A message from the Rev’d Amanda Collinson

Posted by Admin on Friday, 23rd February 2018, 23:31

Amanda Collinson

Priest-in-Charge

St John the Baptist Church

Northwood.

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Tel: 01983 294913

Email: amandacollinson01@gmail.com

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HELLO THERE!
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Spring cleaning – it sounds like a good idea, we want to do it … but how many of us actually get around to achieving it? In our house, that ‘deep clean’ happens when we move a cupboard to find something that has fallen down the back or when we replace something! I sadly (or perhaps joyfully!) have never undertaken the mammoth task of spring cleaning my house.
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Some researchers trace the origins of spring cleaning to the celebration of the Persian New Year, which falls on the first day of spring. Many Iranians continue the practice of “khooneh tekouni” which literally means ‘shaking the house’ just before their new year, where everything in the house is thoroughly cleaned from the curtains to the furniture: what a relief I am not Iranian; I would be failing horribly in my cultural traditions – thank goodness spring cleaning is an option for us Brits!!!
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However, what is not an option for me is observing Lent – this month is completely within this time of reflection when Christians are encouraged to be more reserved in our choices, think less of ourselves and more of others and ultimately God.  During this time, we remember when Jesus was in the wilderness, when he had no luxuries, did not surround himself with any distractions but just focused on His Father and the job he was to undertake on earth – which would ultimately result in his giving the greatest sacrifice of his life for us.
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Giving – it’s a theme of Lent. Many people, interestingly even those who do not go to church, try and give something up for 40 days before Easter (and yes you are right there are more than 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Day – the church doesn’t count the six Sundays as they don’t think you should fast et al on days you worship God … I know it is a bit confusing!). However, a more modern trend is of giving something away – one suggestion is getting a black bin liner and putting one item in it each day of lent from your wardrobe or cupboards that you no longer use and give it to charity at Easter or perhaps even taking something up over the period – helping someone every day or doing something kind to strangers … the list is endless.
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And the best thing about this approach to Lent is that it doesn’t cost anything and doesn’t make you miserable… whereas giving up chocolate or alcohol certainly does!!!
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Whilst I was thinking about this I came across a poem which says this, but in a much better way than I ever could. I am not a huge fan of poetry, but this poem really struck a chord with me.  It is called ‘Brighten your corner’ and it is written by Helen Steiner-Rice. It goes as follows:
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We cannot all be famous,
or be listed in “Who’s Who,”
but every person, great or small
has important work to do.
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For seldom do we realise
the importance of small deeds,
or to what degree of greatness
unnoticed kindness leads.
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For it’s not the big celebrity
in a world of fame and praise,
but it’s doing unpretentiously
in an undistinguished way.
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The work that God assigned to us,
unimportant as it seems,
that makes our task outstanding,
and brings reality to dreams.
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So, do not sit and idly wish
for wider, new dimensions
where you can put into practice,
your many good intentions.
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But at the spot God placed you
begin at once to do,
little things to brighten up
the lives surrounding you.
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If everybody brightened up
the spot where they’re standing,
by being more considerate,
and a little less demanding.
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This dark old world would
very soon eclipse the evening star,
if everybody brightened up
the corner where they are!
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Copy, paste and print out this poem, stick it on your fridge and try to live by it during this time of Lent. However many days you succeed with it, be it only one or every one of the days of this month, you will have made a difference … and that little difference could have changed someone’s life forever!
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Wishing you a blessed, reflective but productive month.
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Rev’d Amanda

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