Over the past week or so, the media has made much of the fact that psychologists considered Monday 21st January to be “Black Monday”. The theory goes that it fell exactly one month after the Winter Solstice. It is a time when Christmas has been left in the distant past, only remembered by larger waistlines and other unwanted physical manifestations. It is also a time when the financial realities of any Christmas overspend has finally come home to roost! Their sensible advice is to get up, get out, and take as much physical exercise as possible in the fresh air. Perhaps it is no coincidence after all that RTE are screening “Operation Transformation” currently!
But as Christians, we would do well to look at “Operation Transformation” in a slightly different light. And we are certainly given that opportunity with the beginning of the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday 13th February. Lent, being a Penitential season, should be used as a period of reflection and correction so that we can “transform” our lives to more as God would wish them to be. This coupled with brighter evenings and all the signs of promise that nature is preparing for its own renewal and transformation, should be just the tonic to shake off the “Black Monday” blues.
Another area that is seeking transformation is Church life, At a diocesan forum last autumn, a commitment was pledged to take a serious look at this area and to take positive initiatives. At a recent presentation by the Archbishop, he suggested three areas at which parishes should take a close look and make changes if necessary. Whilst he welcomes new ideas and new forms of being Church, he is concerned that an over-concentration on these could mean we might miss the opportunities presented of being “Old Church done better”. The areas mentioned were: (a) making our Church community open, warm, inviting, friendly and inclusive; (b) getting children involved in our Liturgies; (c) making sure that our Church community gets involved in social action – catering for the physical as well as the spiritual needs of the wider community.
Those three areas mentioned are not rocket science and we have already made some progress in these areas under our “Church 21” programme. However, there is still some distance to go and to be successful and effective, it will take the combined efforts of all parishioners – of all ages and all backgrounds. However, if we can achieve this, the rewards will be a totally transformed parish which is vibrant and relevant to all.
With every blessing,
The Revd. John Tanner – Tel: 289 3154 / 086 302 1376