St Mary’s Church Coddenham

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From The Rectory – Marks of Faith

by | Feb 29, 2024 | Coddenham Church

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Regular readers of this reflection will know that I recently had a short stay in hospital.  The journey began late on Ash Wednesday and led, inexorably, through A&E to hospital admission.

During the day I met and spoke with many doctors, nurses and others; all clearly busy people but all, for the moment at least, focused on my wellbeing.  Finally, a bed space allocated, I was escorted to a ward where a nurse commented on the ash cross which was still, 24 hours later, etched on my forehead.  It was clear she understood it and asked about my faith.  I shared my role in our ashing service the day before.  Once one notices, so do others and later one of her colleagues remarked that, but for her shift pattern, she too would have received the ash cross.

Remember you are but dust and to dust you shall return; turn away from your sin and be faithful to Christ.  Each imposition is personal; the words in italics here are directed specifically to each of us in our turn.  Yet, personal though it is, that mark also sits as a public declaration of faith and commitment; at least until we next wash.

This year, preoccupied with my own immediate concerns, I had carried this mark of Christ well into the following day.  It was not deliberate, I had forgotten it but others noticed.  And that set me thinking.  Once a year, Ash Wednesday, presents an opportunity to carry our cross openly in this way.  For the rest of the year, away from church and church things, what marks of faith do we carry, marks that for us are so normal that we barely notice them but which speak to others of our commitment to Christ?

Rev’d Philip Payne                                                                      Lent 3

The Notice Sheet for 3rd March can be found here



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