The Parish of St Michael and All Angels, Withyham

and All Saints, Blackham

East Sussex

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picture of Withyham church
St Michael and All Angels, Withyham

picture of Blackham church
All Saints, Blackham


Letter from the Rectory February 2017

Dear Friends,

Contemporary culture is shy of words like discipline. It smacks of judgmentalism, and who are we to sit in judgement on anyone? However, discipline and self-denial have always been part of Christian discipleship. The need for personal change is rooted in our understanding that who we are is not entirely Godís creative work. We are gloriously made in the image of God, but we also recognise that the image is marred by sin. This is a reality for all of us, not just President Assad and ISIS terrorists.

Perhaps it would be better to replace the word discipline with training. We understand how athletes need to train in order to perform at their best, and we too, if Christís likeness is to be formed in us, need to train spiritually. For an Olympic athlete the prize makes the sacrifice worthwhile. For Christians the prize is becoming more like Jesus and therefore being better able to represent him to a broken and hurting world.

Lent has traditionally been a time when we deny ourselves things we enjoy in order to walk with Christ in his sufferings, albeit not to the same intensity! More recently, we have been encouraged to take up something new in our spiritual journey. In this Diocesan Year of The Bible Lent would be a great time to turn off the telly or Facebook, get up a bit earlier and use the recovered time to start reading the Bible more systematically.

Athletes have to change their diet if they are to be equipped for the task. The Bible is the Christianís spiritual diet. How much better to have our minds formed by that than the depressing (and sometimes even corrupting) fare regularly served by contemporary media.

Best wishes

Rt. Rev. Richard Jackson

Bishop of Lewes