Before writing this article, I checked out the significant dates in March, according to my diary:
1st - Ash Wednesday & St. David’s Day
13th - Commonwealth Day
17th - St. Patrick’s Day
20th - First day of Spring
26th - Mothering Sunday & Summer time begins.
Gradually the theme of `togetherness’ built in my mind.
St. David’s Day and that of St. Patrick unite, respectively, many of the people of Wales and Ireland, whilst Commonwealth Day reminds us of the family of nations who hold Elizabeth II as their Queen. Mothering Sunday is very much about families being together, preferably physically, but if that’s not possible, using the modern technology of phones, Skype, cards or e-mails. I try to encourage congregations to see that this day is not just about the mothers of today but that everyone present at the service has or has had a mother, giving those of us whose mothers have died the opportunity to remember their contribution to our growth and development.
Although the first day of Spring occurs this month, already there are signs of new growth around us with the snowdrops waving their white heads in the breeze and the spikes of daffodil and tulip leaves bursting forth from the ground.
Ash Wednesday reminds us that we have left behind the celebration of Christ’s birth and now start looking towards the great gift that he gave us through his sacrifice on the cross and resurrection; the gift of a way through the gate of death to eternal life with him. In the course of his three years of ministry Jesus taught people to see themselves as part of a family with God as `Our Father’. It was a message about togetherness: caring for and sharing with others. He was also teaching about a new beginning: a new way of relating to God and with each other.
As we journey through this month of March may we take time to reflect on how we try to apply the teaching of Jesus so that when we say those famous words, “Our Father” we have a sense of togetherness with others praying the same prayer.
May we all draw encouragement from the new growth that Spring is creating around us.