The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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Parish Magazine

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March 2018

The Vicar writes

Jeremy Fletcher

The Greek world in New Testament times had different words for time. Chronos describes the practical measurement of sequential time. Kairos means the ‘right’ time. The difference between them begins to open up the variety of qualities of time: in some settings just three seconds can seem an eternity; three years the blink of an eye. What time contains is the key, and whether we fill a second, a minute, an hour, a day or a year with significance and value.

The way we shape time is important too. There are rhythms and patterns: I’d love to find out more about circadian and hebdomadal rhythms: the daily and weekly routines and patterns we fall into. I know I have parts of the day with more or less energy, and days of the week where my body expects to leap into action or take a break. The Hebrews knew the value of the sabbath as a day of rest, and establishing a pattern is a good way of making the best of the unconscious patterns our bodies adopt.

I make these reflections because I’m coming up to one full year of being the Vicar here (on March 16), and this season of Lent, Passiontide, Holy Week and Easter is one where many patterns and rhythms of time come together. In Lent Christians impose various disciplines and patterns. My challenge on Ash Wednesday was to seek out a period of conscious silence each day, even for three minutes or so.

After Mothering Sunday (a break from the discipline – do come to our All Age Communion at 10.30 and celebrate all who mother us) we move into Passiontide and Holy Week. More patterns are available: the Bach Passion on Sunday 18 March, Palm Sunday on 25 March, and then Holy Week services at 7.30 Monday – Thursday. The pattern here is to walk with Jesus through the last week of his life, standing at the Cross between 12 and 3 on Good Friday, before the pause of Holy Saturday and the glories of the Easter Vigil and Easter Day (with sung Evensong at 4.30).

I’ll be using my ‘anniversary’ as a time to reflect on life here at the Parish Church and our links and connections in our wider community. As a parish we are looking at our Mission Action Plan, and asking God what we are cad to do in eth next year and beyond. As we all engage in this – see my article elsewhere in this Magazine - I hope it will be ‘Kairos’ time, filled with rich reflection and challenges for the future.

May God bless this time for you.

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