Through the forty days of Lent we are lead into the desert of repentance, through a pilgrimage of prayer and discipline we grow in grace and learn to be God’s people once again. Through fasting, prayer and acts of service we are brought back to God’s generous heart. Through study of God’s holy word our eyes are opened to God’s presence in the world and our hands are set free to welcome others into the radiant splendour of God’s love. It is a journey back to God’s love, a journey back to holiness.
At the Last Supper Jesus talks about the transforming nature of holiness and then he invites his disciples to partake! Jesus journeys outside the city wall, he goes to the place where people suffer and are humiliated, to the place where people throw stuff out, including other people and shows that there is holiness too.
Rowan Williams says that holiness is about enlarging the world, it is about being involved with the world, that a holy person is somebody who is not afraid to be a human being, someone who, in the middle of all that, actually makes you see things and people afresh...that is the transforming thing, the acid test for identifying where holiness is.
He goes on, a truly holy Church is taken over by the excitement of the extraordinariness of
God; it wants to talk about the beauty and splendour of God, and to show the self-draining, self-forgetting love of God by being at the heart of humanity, by being where people are most human.
Many of us have heard about ‘thin places’, the phrase used to describe a physical place where the gap between heaven and earth is no more than a hair’s breadth. In a recent conversation at our Team Chapter, we acknowledged that there are ‘thin people’ too: holy people who are so human they fill us with joy, raise us up and make us feel good.
As we journey back to God’s love during this Season of Lent I hope you will find encouragement for your journey through the people you meet and the prayers you make.
The Revd Canon Thomas M B Woodhouse
Team Rector of Dorchester and The Winterbournes
(The inspiration behind this offering at the start of Lent is Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury) and particularly Chapter Four, pages 46-56, in his book Being Disciples, Essentials for the Christian Life (ISBN 978-0-281-07662-8).) Thomas