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Dust and Glory: “God uses moments to speak to us, irrespective of whether we think they’re the best moments of our lives or some of the hardest”

All-Saints daisies

A call is being made this Lent to look at failure and reflect upon how Christians can come together through some of the most difficult moments in life.

The Church of England’s Lent campaign is well underway, with this year’s topic called ‘Dust and Glory.’ More specifically, This year’s resources are informed and inspired by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2023 Lent Book, Failure: What Jesus said about sin, mistakes and messing stuff up (SPCK publishing) by Bishop Emma Ineson, who has also co-written the daily reflections booklet for adults (Church House Publishing).

All Saints Ecclesall have been using the Dust and Glory booklets with the 40 days of reflections, with materials for individuals and families both being accessed. One of the Dust and Glory themes is about ‘failure’, a challenge that can be particularly difficult at any time of year, especially Lent. Roland Slade, the Associate Vicar of All Saints Ecclesall, says events such as the pandemic have really brought this to home:

“It’s an interesting topic especially after a hard few years, so to reflect on the hard things in life feels even harder. However, I really like that this theme came from Bishop Emma, who had in 2019 written a book on success and ambition. It felt framed in a really nice way and it hasn’t felt too heavy to deal with in all honesty. I think as a church we do feel like we’re preparing ourselves well for Easter.

“Failure is how we view it, but actually how does God view these moments? You see that all through the Bible God uses moments to speak to us, irrespective of whether we think they’re the best moments of our lives or some of the hardest moments, and I think that reflects through the Christian journey as well.”

This Lent period is also a time for reflection, a chance to “explore how we can live well with the mess of everyday life” as the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have put it. In the Diocese of Sheffield testimonies are being shared both from clergy and lay people, plus each diocese will feature throughout Lent on the national Church of England social media pages.

The opportunity to look ahead and prepare for Easter is one to be grasped, as Roland explains:

“I definitely get the sense in our church of the desire to lay a good foundation. Sometimes moments like Lent can feel like these long and heavy times, but I feel there is a desire in these congregations to be in a really good, prepared state and look forward to the joy that will be Easter.

“The daily reflections are very helpful. It’s a small drip every day and with the small booklet you get a very short amount of scripture to look through. It’s a chance every day to learn a new aspect, but also to look back at your own life; how was God involved in those times where you felt really down?

“Invariably I look back at times in my own life and say ‘actually, I did see where God was at work.’ Maybe it wasn’t where I wanted to go, but actually I knew the presence of God was with me in that time and He led me to the place where I am now.”

You can find out more about the Church of England Dust and Glory campaign here.

Lent Activities at All Saints’ Ecclesall:

Lent Connections Talks

Wednesday March 15th 7:30-9pm
How do we know the way to go? Pilgrimage, story and liminal moments in life and scripture. Bishop Peter Hill is the former Bishop of Barking and for a year led the Diocese of Chelmsford through its vacancy. An engaging and powerful speaker he has a wide experience of Christian ministry.

Wednesday March 29th 7:30-9pm
Music and Faith. Dean Abi is the Dean of Sheffield Cathedral and loves sharing her passion for music making with others. A joy to welcome her as the Cathedral is the Patron of All Saints Church!

A Friendly Stop
27th March – Organ recital and prayers at 1pm with refreshments served afterwards.