Lenten Meditations: Saturday 24 February

Feb 24, 2018 by

Feb 24
am: 55
pm: 138, 139
Deut 11:18-28 Heb 5:1-10 John 4:1-26

SATURDAY OF LENT ISt. Ethelbert, King and Confessor, 616

LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY: The first of the Anglo-Saxons to receive the Christian faith was the premier king, or Bretwalda, of the Saxon confederation, respected not only as a grandson of Hengist but also as a great warrior. He married Bertha, a Christian Princess from Gaul, and agreed that she should continue to practice her religion and bring with her Luidhard, the Bishop of Senlis, as her chaplain. Ethelbert gave his Queen the ancient church of St. Martin in Canterbury, built in Roman times, which he restored. It stood outside the city walls and there is a small postern gate still there, known as the Quenin Gate, through which she passed daily to hear mass.

His marriage made Ethelbert well-disposed towards Augustine when he arrived with his monks in the Isle of Thanet, but he was cautious. He would not meet these strangers except in the open air in case they should work upon him some magical charm, and so it was that he received Augustine seated under an oak tree with Bertha by his side. He listened to the words of the Gospel translated to him by an interpreter, and when they were ended he said that he could not immediately abandon all that he held sacred, but the Christian missionaries were free to preach in his kingdom. He gave to them a piece of land between the walls and St. Martin’s, where the monks established their monastery, which became the great Abbey of SS Peter and Paul. The fourteenth century gate-house, known as the Fyndon Gate, has a figure carved on one of the battlements of St. Ethelbert looking over his city.

The king watched carefully the behavior of these Christians and became convinced of the truth of what they preached, so on Whitsunday 597, with many of his nobles and subjects, he received baptism in the river Stour. Augustine went to France to be consecrated bishop, and on his return, Ethelbert presented him with his palace inside the walls, which was consecrated as the Cathedral Church of Christ.

MEDITATION OF THE DAY: The lesson today is from John’s Gospel. Of course, one cannot read this too long without being mindful of the crisis that we find in the Middle East. In this passage there is the portrayal of the hatred between Samaritans and Jews was by all mean. Over decades and centuries, they had been living with a history of deep prejudice and terrible aggression against one another!

Sadly, this phenomenon is not unknown to us, because such conflicts not only happen in the Middle East nor in the distant past, they happen now! Many of us know tensions like this from our own life stories or from the life stories of ancestors or friends. Old and firm religious beliefs and unsolvable political or ethnic conflicts make it impossible for some groups to meet on common ground and bring about reconciliation. Yet that is what we are called to be about. We are to be about talking to each other, trusting each other, understanding each other and learning from each other. This journey in faith is about reconciliation, justice and peace. If not, how can we continue eating the bread of life and quenching our thirst for righteousness?


PRAYER OF THE DAY: You call us, Lord, to leave familiar things and to leave our “comfort zone”. May we open our eyes to new experiences,
may we open our ears to hear you speaking to us
and may we open our hearts to your love.
Grant that this time spent on pilgrimage
may help us to see ourselves as we really are
and may we strive to become the people you would have us be. Amen.


Lenten DisciplineAs Augustine made Pilgrimage to bring the faith to the English Church and Pilgrimage has been part of the spiritual journey in Lent. Consider making a local pilgrimage where you live on a weekend using the following tips


  1. Decide when to go.
  2. Choose a sacred site.
  3. Set an intention before you go.
  4. Be prepared.
  5. Take your time.
  6. Create sacred ritual.
  7. Write in your journal.
  8. Conclude your journey thoughtfully. All pilgrimage



“Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.” ― Abraham Joshua Heschel


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