North Wiltshire Methodist Circuit

We are a discipleship movement shaped for mission

Most nights I read myself to sleep. My literary companion is normally a novel, and invariably real print on proper paper nicely bound. The process takes anything from two to ten minutes. The aim as eyelids droop is to put the book down at the end of a paragraph or even a chapter for ease of reference twenty-four hours later, but this doesn’t always happen, so the next session begins with detecting where you left off, like scrabbling for the end of the cling-film roll.

I like telling stories. A tendency to re-tell the same ones is met by patience from most friends and colleagues, and sometimes kindly impatience from family who can be more expressive: Yes dad, we know! You told us before…..


For me the beginning of Lent in the Christian calendar, feels like picking up on the page where we left off a while ago. The whole Church year is a re-telling of God’s creative, loving involvement with us through Jesus Christ, and our response to God as we follow Jesus, become part of that story we celebrate in liturgy and living. During Lent which begins on Ash Wednesday, 6th March, the drama takes us through Jesus’ struggle to come to terms with the nature and the enormity of God’s call to him, and the real outcomes of responding to that call. Jesus speaks truth to power out of love for God and all people, and he suffers the consequences even to accepting execution by crucifixion, the desolation, and in all this, he continues to love even his tormentors. Love triumphs. Then Easter. 


To me it seems a while since we welcomed the Wise Men from the east at Epiphany, 6th January, but in our churches and daily lives we have been turning the pages, and here’s another chapter. It’s my story and yours. God breathes life into us, calls us to love God and all people our neighbours, forgives us in our repeated failures, is with us in the darkness of the grave and raises us to new life, ever, unfailingly. It’s the story of grace. No other one comes close to interpreting our experience of being, of being human, of being human on this earth, and empowering us to be so hopefully and lovingly for all humankind.


Tony Barnes