ragon THE P RTAL February 2018 Page 5 Lenten Prose Snapdragon looks forward to Lent T hinking about Lent, rather than living it, is always difficult. At mass on Sunday I was very struck by a line in the homily that Jonah was the very worst prophet ever, and because of that hopelessness, the most effective there has ever been. Running away, feeling unworthy, admitting one’s disobedience and falling away from the chosen path are the lot of most of us if we are honest. Paul spoke about it a lot but, my goodness, so did the prophets. Jonah’s story and his fury when having screwed his courage to the sticking point the entire city repented when he was only a third of the way in would be comical if it wasn’t so true. Perhaps Jonah ought to be our book for Lent. Anyway, musing along these lines it was good to see the Holy Father talking through his apology for having gone a little on the attack in describing those who accused a priest, just ordained Bishop, of knowing about another’s abuse as a slander. Legally I guess he was right but it was better to hear the law and the prophets giving way to humility and an understanding of how people actually feel about something. That too is an essential thing to have about one when thinking about Jonah. Snapdragon is sometimes a bit, well snappy, as some readers have pointed out. My Lenten resolution is to say nothing that St Paul would not have said. What then is one to make of the news from round the world? The Levant burns and Turkey (as successor to the eastern empire and so the state that must appoint the ecumenical patriarch) has invaded Syria. The pictures, and stories are horrible and it looks like the Christians are to be driven out of our very homelands. Palmerston sent a gunboat when a levantine greek jew What can one say about the latest set of figures of doubtful morality was treated badly. We, apparently about church attendance? Obviously it helps if one’s have no troops no gunboats and no real idea what parish church is old and beautiful, but it clearly to think, so instead we have a cabinet discussion on isn’t very significant given the terribly small average increasing spending on the NHS. congregation of most Anglican churches. When I was a girl ev eryone went to church, by which I mean in the Has anyone else been plagued by moles? Looking at country about 40% of the population went regularly. the brown grass very carefully I saw definite signs of Now, beauty, age and history notwithstanding, they very small daffodil green shoots and very big piles of don’t. I see that Cathedral worship is holding up. I earth. Please do send in the very best remedies and in wonder if that is because the dignity of the liturgy is a spirit of mutual forbearance I will dig out a decent so obviously upheld particularly with the beautiful receipt for mole and cheese pie. music, the numbers give one a feeling of being part of a vibrant organisation, and, perhaps critically the Now dear reader, as part of the spirit of the age, I’m homilies are preached by those who have time, setting off to Davos where a very dear friend of mine is giving and inclination to be good at what they do. What’s not a speech on Thursday before President Trump blows to like about the whole experience? Why can’t we, and it all away on Friday. The skiing round the corner in they, translate it into better services, better preaching, Klosters is just what this old bird needs to prepare her better music and better liturgy in our parishes? for a good Lent. A glad game not for wimps ... continued from page 4 The children studied psalms and wrote out lines they’d come to know And we sent prizes for the best, and watched the project grow – Next year it was “Our Father” and now it’s grown and grown – Perhaps some lasting things will come from seeds that have been sown. And LOGS has grown and flourished too – for we have much to say Of talks enjoyed, and friendships forged, and things learned on the way. Remember Father Nicholas, who brought the past alive, His talk on Father Lockhart, from the Westminster archive? And Father Mark from Hatfield at the University Describing how his church became the students’ chaplaincy? An evening at Norwood where we meet each June and then A splendid talk on Africa from our own Father Ken! A pilgrimage to Walsingham, a time of special prayer A sense of dedication, and of re-commitment there. And as our memories linger and we go back to recall The things we’ve done and times enjoyed, we can give thanks for all. And yet we’re just beginning, for there’s still much to be done Evangelising London – which can mean hard work and fun! The carol singing’s over, here we dine in our best togs Oh, you know the rhyme that’s coming, raise your glasses, here’s to LOGS!