Minister's Monthly Letter
Yosemite is a 3000 square kilometre National Park in California visited by more than 3.7 million people each year: most spend their time in the 18 square kilometres of Yosemite Valley which is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves and biological diversity.
The most imposing cliff is “El Capitan” a sheer 900 metre granite monolith. Over the years climbers have worked out various routes, all difficult, to the top. The greatest challenge is “free climbing” using equipment only for safety. The most difficult route, The Dawn Wall proved impossible until this January when Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell reached the top after climbing for just over two weeks.
Partly because of the interest in this particular climb the number of people signing up to learn about climbing – on mountains but also on climbing walls - is growing.
Climbing is both a physical and a mental challenge - that is the attraction for newcomers. The church has long recognized the benefit of such a challenge and sets aside Lent (40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day excluding the Sundays) for just such a purpose. The idea is caught in 2 Peter 3 verse 18 “continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”
I am planning to hold a service to mark the start of Lent on February 18th (full details not yet available – please look out for more information) and hope you will be able to come. An invitation, like the one below, is often part of the service:-
In the name of Christ I invite you to observe this holy season of Lent, by prayer, self-denial, and charitable giving; by self-examination and repentance; by reading and meditating on God’s word.
The men who climbed the Dawn Wall spent two years preparing! They exercised their bodies, explored the face of the mountain and thought about what they discovered. We have the offer of 40 days – what might you do?
On the internet you might like to look at “Do Lent Generously” which proposes forty days of giving back, doing good and living generously - http://www.40acts.org.uk/
Shortly before or early in Lent I will be circulating publicity about a series of sessions to explore the Christian Faith. It would work as both a first time encounter and a refresher.
You could join an ecumenical Lent Group – details at church
Have a conversation with me about how you could use Lent
To conclude - a quotation from Tommy Caldwell one of the successful climbers – “It felt like a very spiritual experience the whole time.”
Rev Bob Sneddon