#ProwlingLion · Church of England · Felixstowe · Growing in God · Lent · poem · Prayer · Screwtape

Resisting the Prowling Lion – Day 29

Resisting the Prowling Lion – 40 Days with Screwtape

Day 29 – Monday after 5th Sunday of Lent

To Read:

From The Screwtape Letters:

Screwtape, a senior demon, is offering advice to Wormwood his nephew, an apprentice demon.  The language he uses is ‘upside down’ referring to God as ‘the Enemy’ and the devil as ‘Our Father Below’.


Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury.   And the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied.   The more claims on life, therefore, that your patient can be induced to make, the more often he will feel injured and, as a result, ill-tempered.   Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him.   It is the unexpected visitor (when he looked forward to a quiet evening), or the friend’s talkative wife (turning up when he looked forward to a tête-à-tête with the friend), that throw him out of gear.   Now he is not yet so uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his courtesy are in themselves too much for it.   They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen.   You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption ‘My time is my own’.   Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours.   Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties.   But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birth right.

Your affectionate uncle


To Reflect:

A True Story from a Time Past.

It started as far back as Wednesday with a simple response to a request, ‘Yes, of course it’s not a problem to cobble together a quick order of service for a Passiontide Cantata on Sunday night, leave it to me, no sweat’… 

Then Thursday starts a little slowly and one appointment starts late and overruns by an hour – having completely forgotten to attend one earlier in the day.  Never mind I can squeeze a little more time out of Friday’s day off then remember there are two funerals and two bereavement visits to slip in as well.  Surely there will be an hour or so to spare on Saturday?  But you forget about the Men’s Breakfast in the morning and a certain very important rugby match to watch with a special friend and family members.  Then it really starts to go downhill; a colleague arrives at half-time and a good piece of work needs to be re-done.  No sweat the Cantata will be written sometime!

Sunday dawns after a late-night phone call with the information that one of your Sunday school teachers is nursing sick children and the other is moving house whilst your stand-in is deployed in a local parish.  So the ‘extra’ time between the second and third service of the morning now finds you cutting out cardboard egg shapes, colouring in Palm Sunday pictures, and teaching a seven-year-old boy how to spell ‘Alleluia’ – this was good, haven’t taught Sunday School in over thirty years!  Still holding on, just!  Third morning service quite good but need intravenous caffeine by now, especially when arriving home to find cooker out of action and lunch late.  Fifteen minutes of searching uncovers the fact that it had been turned off at the wall….  What next?  Watch the Grand Prix highlights perchance?  Panic, Order of Service for tonight’s cantata not even started!  Three hours later collapse in a heap on the sofa for thirty minutes of pretend TV watching before going to church arms laden with food for the homeless, Wagon Wheels (a story for another day), thirty large print service sheets, and copies of our Safeguarding Declaration.  Drop the whole lot – except for the jar of marmalade, Laus Deo – whilst trying to unlock the church gates with the choir standing by complaining that it was cold outside and why I was taking so long to let them in to the warm church!

Just as well the service began with a silent procession – anything I might have thought to say would have come under the category of conduct unbecoming of a cleric!  

Three hours later, I am just a tad more human and would like to apologize to my choir (who sang very well and provided a holy hour for those at worship) for being a living example of today’s lesson from Screwtape.  It feels more than a little awkward finding myself as the chief character in an acted-out parable…

‘Zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption “My time is my own”’, is today’s advice to Wormwood on how to turn irritation into anger.  I know myself to be an expert in not just slipping, but plunging headlong down this particular slope.

Yes, I know I am abysmal at managing my diary and, with another parishioner, long for the introduction of the metric week; we get to have ten days in a week to do our work whilst everyone else has to struggle along with just seven… However I suspect if I have an extra three days to get all that needs doing done I would just end up doing more!  But the challenge here is not just about filling 24 hours.   When Rudyard Kipling wrote; If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, He hadn’t met maniacs like me.   Though, to be honest, his was a much more rounded view of life than I have ever managed to meet.

The lesson I need to learn, and perhaps a few other readers who like me allow themselves to be hag-ridden by their vocations, is the one about to whom my time and days really belongs.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which youhave from God, and that you are not your own?  For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

And then there is the One Who Loves us Best, even though I would like to think we could somehow prove our worth by trying to do more than is expected, calls us to a gentle discipleship.  After all did He not say;

Come to me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! Put on my yoke and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11.28-30)

To Do:

Read ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling – there is a copy at the foot of this Blog

If you are looking for a somewhat deeper and more life changing challenge, read ‘If’ by Amy Carmichael.

Have a look at your diary up until Easter and see if you can cancel or change an appointment….. (I have chosen to take a slow train ride for my day as duty chaplain at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on Friday instead of rushing up and down the A14 in the vicarmobile)

A Psalm To Ponder:


Refrain:        The rhythm of the drums, the beat of the heart, reliable and steady, the voice of your faithfulness.

For the dawning of the light, 

for the sun at mid-day, 

for the shade of the evening, 

we give thanks to our God.     Refrain:

For the rising of the moon, 

for the guiding stars, 

for the comets on cue, 

we give thanks to our God.     Refrain:

For the breaking of the fast, 

for noontide’s refreshment, 

for the meal round the table, 

we give thanks to our God.     Refrain:

For the greening of the woodland, 

for the grains of the harvest, 

for the fruits in their season, 

we give thanks to our God.     Refrain:

For the cry of the baby, 

for the flowering of youth, 

for the strength of maturity, 

we give thanks to our God.     Refrain:

For the laws that protect us, 

for those on alert, 

for the routines of safety, 

we give thanks to our God.     Refrain:

For the fall of the autumn, 

for the quiet of winter, 

for the boundary of death, 

we give thanks to our God.     Refrain:

For the trust of friends,

for the blessings of home, 

for the covenants of love, 

we give thanks to our God.     Refrain:

For the unfailingly generous, 

for the wisdom of years, 

for constant compassion, 

we give thanks to our God.     Refrain:

For the hidden who serve us, 

for the water and power, 

for work taken for granted, 

we give thanks to our God.     Refrain:

God of good gifts, surprise us again with how reliable you are.  Thank you for the trustworthiness of so many people in their repeated tasks for the benefit of the whole community. We touch a mystery unsearchable and wonderful, the marvel of the everyday.  And you, O God, are constant and faithful, abundant in steadfast love, passionate and limitless in the giving of yourself to us and all the world, partners as we are in you covenant of creation.  AMEN.     (Jim Cotter)


Please Note:  These reflections are also published on my blog: suffolkvicarhomes.com on Twitter as @SuffolkVicar, and on my public Facebook page Rev Andrew Dotchin

If you would like them as a daily email please send a request to vicar@felixparish.com


Quotes from The Screwtape Letters are copyright © 1942 C.S. Lewis Pte

Prayers from Psalms for a Pilgrim People are copyright © 1989, 1991, 1993 Jim Cotter

Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

These Reflections,  ‘Resisting the Prowling Lion’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2023


IF by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s