A Preface for Ash Wednesday

The following preface was written to mark the beginning of Lent and reflects the language and character of the Lenten material in the Scottish Liturgy 1982 and Daily Prayer of the Scottish Episcopal Church

Dear Friends in Christ, it is the custom of Christian people to prepare to mark the time of Christ’s passion and resurrection by a season of penitence and fasting.

The church calls each of us during these forty days to repent of all that causes harm to ourselves, harm to our earthly dwelling place and harm to our relationship with God.

By carefully keeping these days, Christians take to heart the call to repentance and the assurance of forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel, and so grow in faith and devotion. In turning our hearts towards God, we discover anew the boundless grace of God.

For God will help us to create beauty even within the turmoil of this chaotic world and will help us to gather a harvest of joy and gladness from lives of sorrow and care. Today and every day, God calls the wandering exile home.

We are invited therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word.

Predictions for 2021

    1. Boris Johnston will achieve his longstanding ambition to become a former Prime Minister.
    2. Stock market higher at end of 2021 than at the beginning (FTSE – 6,460)  but higher inflation too (most recent CHPI – 0.6%).
    3. No progress for those hoping for marriage equality in the Church of England.
    4. State based hackers turn their disruptive attention to open source software. (Watch out WordPress).
    5. Donald Trump will remain the centre of attention.
    6. There will be midnight mass in St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow next Christmas Eve. People will be wearing masks.
    7. A rocky year for Nicola Sturgeon but the SNP will be returned triumphant to Holyrood, despite their record.
    8. No vote on Scottish Independence this year but like it or not, constitutional change is a-coming.
    9. Attempt to repeal the Human Rights Act, removing the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights from UK law. (It is a stepping stone to restoring capital punishment – the Brexiteers are not done with us yet).
    10. Legislation emerges in Scotland to restrict fireworks.