On Ash Wednesday it was so gratifying to see so many of you in the church. The 10am service was very full and an almost equally large number came together at the evening service. As we know Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation and we are not 'obliged' to attend. So why did we do so in such numbers? Whatever our answer may be to that question, the ultimate reason is surely that we were called by God to do so. What does it mean to be called by God? In the Old Testament we hear of many who were called by God in a specific way. We may especially remember the story of Samuel's calling when he left his bed and went to his master Eli having heard God calling him three times. When God called Samuel a fourth time Samuel did what Eli had told him and said "speak Lord your servant is listening" (Samuel 3: 10) We gathered as the people of God's calling; we came together as community aware of our need of God as we begin our Lenten journey, a journey which leads to the glorious feast of Easter when our salvation is made known to us by the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. May our parish as individuals and as community be blessed through our Lenten experience, as we climb towards the summit of our liturgical year echoing Samuel: "speak Lord your servant is listening".