St Mary’s Church Coddenham

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From The Rectory – A Timely Reminder

by | Feb 22, 2024 | Coddenham Church


Looking out from the 6th floor of Ipswich hospital, I was struck by how straight the horizon was.  Below me lay the Ipswich suburbs and beyond the horizon was punctuated by the occasional man-made feature.  That apart, the prevailing image was of a smooth, level and endless expanse such as I normally only associate with a seascape.  Anyone who knows the land knows that this image of flat is deceptive.  Low-lying Suffolk may be, flat it isn’t.  Even our own small patch of the County contains some surprisingly sharp, if thankfully short, inclines to test the muscles.

Two days earlier many of us had marked the beginning of Lent with the traditional Ash Wednesday ritual of ash on the forehead.  Remember you are but dust and to dust you shall return; turn away from your sin and be faithful to Christ.  Indeed, it was with these words barely off my lips, and the last vestiges of my ash cross still on my forehead, that I had found myself in A&E in the small hours of Thursday morning.

I am pleased to say that it clearly wasn’t time for me to return to ash.  However, I did realise how my problem had been building for some time, and how I had noticed but ignored the signs that all was not well. Prompt medical action saw me restored; danger and discomfort past.

Gazing out of the hospital window, I knew that the ruler straight, distant horizon hid many pleats and folds in the land while my sudden admission to hospital was the result of ignoring the, not always so hidden, signs that all was not well with my body.  How timely that I was pulled up short on the first day of Lent.  Like our physical health, without constant attention, our spiritual health is prone to all sorts of ailments.  These little aches and pains creep in one-by-one.  At first we ignore them, then, when that doesn’t work, we seek an accommodation.  These little spiritual pains are called sin and are every bit as damaging to our souls as physical ailments are to our bodies.   Lent, with its focus on self-examination, prayer and the study of God’s word, is the ideal time for a spiritual health check – and maybe time to fix some of those physical niggles too.


Rev’d Philip Payne                                                                       Lent 2

The Notice Sheet for 25th February can be found here.                                          Evening Prayer at St Mary’s at 4.00pm on Sunday 25th February.






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