The Vicar's Letter (written by Reverend Malcolm Grant, vicar of St Mary's Church in Eaton Bray) has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002
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Vicar's Letter

March 2003

Reverend Malcolm Grant, vicar of the Church of St Mary The Virgin, Eaton Bray with Edlesborough.

Car owners know how important it is to have the car serviced regularly. It's a way of ensuring that it runs efficiently and safely, and often gives early warning of the need for repairs and for parts to be replaced. It's an insurance against breakdowns, failures, and accidents which could cause injury - or worse - to yourself and to others. So important is this that every car that is three years old or more is required to have an official examination, an M.O.T. test, to ensure that it is safe to be on the roads.

It could save a great deal of heart-ache, injury and stress if we had an M.O.T. test for life. How many of us drift along without much idea of where we are going, how we ought to behave, or what values govern our conduct and our decisions? And when something goes wrong, we don't have a clue how to begin to put it right.

For Christians the season of Lent provides an opportunity for a spiritual service and a life-style M.O.T. What are my priorities? How far do I live up to them? How far is the likeness of Jesus reflected in my life - in the way I treat other people, in my honesty and integrity, in the example I set to those around me? Lent was never meant to be just about giving up sweets or not going to the pictures - these were just ways of developing a bit of self-discipline or making room in our lives for something more worthwhile. Lent is about the reality of our discipleship - how far we are really responding to Jesus's invitation "follow me".

We can't follow Him unless we know Him - so our first Lenten priority is prayer, worship and Bible-study. As we follow Him we need to remove from our lives those things that draw us away from Him - so our second priority is our own morality and self-discipline. Jesus's example is one of generous concern for others - so our third priority should be to look at our generosity (or lack of it) and what we are prepared to give (and sacrifice) for the benefit of other people. And for most of us that's a big enough agenda to handle for six weeks or so. If we try to tackle too much at once, we are foredoomed to failure.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 5 March. Can I invite you to join us in spending the time between then and Easter in examining those priorities and making a real effort to become a little bit more Christ-like. If we all did that, what a difference it would make to our community! MALCOLM

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About the Vicar's Letter

The Vicar's Letter has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002.

The Rev. Peter Graham also used to publish The Vicar's Letter in the parish magazine of 1964. Please see the area for these.