Summer Rest

A recent Gospel reading told how Jesus and his followers needed rest. But it was impossible; everywhere they went, they were recognised…

The apostles gathered around Jesus and brought Him news of all they had done and taught. And He said to them, “Come with Me privately to a solitary place, and let us rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they went away in a boat by themselves to a solitary place. But many people saw them leaving and recognised them. They ran together on foot from all the towns and arrived before them. When Jesus stepped ashore and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things.

Hopefully, if you are planning on taking a holiday, you will not be ‘recognised’ to the same extent! And if you aren’t able to have a break, we hope that you are able to rest a little while and stay cool during the hot weather.

Best wishes to you this summer from everyone at St Giles’.

Long warm days… The pace of life slows… A time for picnics and rest in the shade… Lord, help us to rest awhile in the cooling shade of your presence. Slow down our restless hearts and fill us with gentle compassion for all your people. Amen.

Live Lent

Now is the healing time decreed
for sins of heart and word and deed,
when we in humble fear record
the wrong that we have done the Lord.
(Latin, before 12th century)

If you’ve visited St Giles’ recently, you will have noticed that our church looks a little bare. The flowers have disappeared; liturgical dress is simple and even the music we sing and listen to is a bit quieter and more subdued than usual.

But this state of affairs is temporary. We’re currently observing the season of Lent, a time when Christians try to live simpler lives. Lent can be a time of self-examination, penitence, giving, self-denial and study. It prepares the way for us to commemorate Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross during Holy Week – and ends at Easter when we celebrate Jesus’ victory over death.

For most people, finding time to explore these traditional Lenten themes in the 21st Century is very difficult. In centuries past, there were no pesky phone calls or energy-tapping Emails getting in the way. But perhaps therein lies the solution…

LiveLent 2018 header
#LiveLent – Let Your Light Shine takes you on a six week discipleship journey in 2018 through the Gospel of John, exploring what it means to be a witness. There’s a fantastic booklet available here but if you’d like a daily reflection delivered direct to your phone, Text ‘Lent’ to 88802. 

Live lent

And if you have an iPhone or an Android device, you can even download the LiveLent app. It looks super sharp and contains a short reading, a pause for reflection and prayer, and an idea for a simple action that will enable the light of Jesus to shine through your everyday life. And if you’d prefer to receive an Email – in this case a truly energising one – you can subscribe here.


We wish you well during this season of Lent and pray that Christ will give you the grace to grow in holiness, to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him.

Valentine’s Day & Lent – anything in common?

For the first time since 1945, Valentine’s day falls on the same day as Ash Wednesday in 2018. Valentine’s day is about celebrating love and for Christians, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. But do the two have anything in common?

Lent is the time when Christians take time to try and live God’s way, the way that Jesus showed us. Of course, we try to do this every day of our lives! But Lent can mean going the ‘extra mile’. For example, some Christians decide to take up new ways of living -perhaps by giving things away or reading the Bible or praying more. Some Christians decide to give things up for the season –  like chocolate or crisps, social media or TV watching.

The most popular story about the origins of Valentine’s day comes from Rome in the third Century AD. Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage and Valentine, a priest, began to arrange marriages in secret but was eventually found out and sentenced to death. Whilst in prison, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken to be killed on the 14th of  February he sent her a love letter signed ‘from your Valentine’. Later, this day started to be used by people to express their feelings to those they loved.

Valentine’s Day is about love – and so is Lent. Love often means giving up something for other people – by being unselfish and generous, thoughtful and kind.

A contemporary prayer for Valentine’s Day / Lent

Dear God
Thank you for all the love in our lives and in the world. Help us to share that love with other people each and every day.

Dear God
Give us courage to let go of things this Lent. Help us to discover more about following Jesus and sharing his love in the world.

Dear God
As we think about your love for us this Lent, help us to take up new ways of living. Help us to live generously and make a difference to others. Amen.

A traditional prayer for Lent

Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.