You Pack Your Bag

James Cathcart January 25, 2023 1 1
You Pack Your Bag

James Cathcart invites us on a meditative journey as we look ahead to the next three months of themes at Sanctuary First. Check out our resource material for February, March and April that anticipate and then travel through the seasons of Lent and Easter.

You pack your bag, preparing the best you can the things you’ll need, saying a quick prayer.

It’s time to go.

You set out, focusing on the walk ahead, trying to find a rhythm. Memories, hopes, longings and quiet observations mingle as your feet go on one in front of the other. As you make your way along the path you are conscious of all those who have walked this road before you. The rain falls lightly and you feel the mist on your skin.

After travelling a while you find a sheltered spot, where the breeze rustles through the hardy wild flowers clinging to the rough earth. A place where birds hover tenaciously on the wind, and fish leap unrepentant, where industrious insects work wonders unseen. You slowly become aware through the parting mist of a vista spreading gradually out before you…

The sun is breaking in.

Your surroundings are gently transforming, the distance you have already walked is seen in new light. You are gladdened but weary. It’s been a long morning, you’re tired. But there amongst the rocks you discover a rough wooden bench and you sit gratefully. The hillside is steadily transforming before your eyes. It catches your breath. You sigh. You begin to pray. All things shall be well and all manner of things shall be well…

Packing our bags, finding a route, taking shelter as we watch the light break through the clouds. That’s the journey we are going on over the next three months of our themes at Sanctuary First. Preparation, activity, and review. Prayer, practice, prayer.

Packing our bags

We begin towards the end of January and the start of February in a mindset of preparation with Prayers for Living, four weeks that explore how we can ready ourselves, mind, body and soul for some of the many everyday tasks we undertake in daily life. Over the month we will generate 28 bespoke prayers for everyday situations. Something to pack with you as well as your phone/keys/wallet, on the everyday adventures of living as disciples of Jesus.

Finding the route

Then we begin, map in hand, our journey through Lent. Ever mindful as we go of The Third Day — that incredible day of resurrection that unites the universe. The life-giving light of the resurrection shines even through the clouds of Holy Week. We travel not so much with the 1st century disciples, but in parallel with them, seeing how their story weaves into our own today. As we walk the well worn path of Lent again this year what will we notice? What will we discover or rediscover, learn or relearn as we reconnect with our ancestors of faith? We will meditate on place, passion, poetry, praise, paths, poverty, providence, pasture, patience, pardon, pain and presence.

Sheltering, resting

And then in the shelter of Easter Sunday we stop to draw breath finding a rough wooden bench — handmade by the carpenter’s son at the heart of the universe — and we look out at the open vista of that Third Day of resurrection and reflect on how that day has a bearing for each of us, in All My Days. We will be thinking about olden days, golden days, unfolding days and emboldened days as we contemplate the return to everyday life, the sun warming our back, the birds singing, the river burbling, hope blossoming.


Wanting to look ahead?

The February theme Prayers for Living (29 Jan - 25 February) is up now with a resource pack giving daily readings and reflective prompts. The Connect Bible study material is up with accompanying introductory videos too.

Our Lent theme The Third Day (the six Sundays of Lent 26 Feb - 8 April) is also up and so are the Connect Bible study questions and videos.

Our April theme All My Days (Easter Sunday 9 April - 6 May), with PDFs of the resource pack and the Bible study questions, is available too.

James Cathcart