Dear Friends,


The season of Lent is upon us again!  Wednesday 1 March is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, that 40 day period of preparation for Easter.  So will you do about it?


I recently reads these words in a book about Celtic Christianity: “Lent is meant to be a time for us to gain an understanding, through giving something up, of what it means to sacrifice.  Then, by the time we get to the Easter weekend and contemplate the death of Christ on the cross, we can comprehend to a small degree, what it meant for Jesus to give up his life.”


Many of us today do think about Lent as a time of giving something up.  But if we just focus our minds on giving up chocolate, or cake, or whatever we consider our vices to be, then Lent becomes all about the hardship we think we are going through.  Jesus doesn’t figure in it very much. 


However, if we look at Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness, it was about being with God, free from distractions, taking time to work out exactly what his future held.  The temptations were all very real; all ways in which Jesus could have abused his power as the Son of God.  But he didn’t give up; he stuck it out, and by the end of his time in the desert he was ready to begin doing the work God wanted him to do.


So, rather than just thinking about what you can give up during Lent, think too about what you might take on.  There are Lent groups in each of our parishes, at different times, where we will look together at the Beatitudes.  It is always good to look at the Bible with others, sharing our thoughts and questions, and getting to know other people better, especially if you attend a group at another church.


Or you could find a quiet five minutes a day on your own, just letting God guide your thoughts, or reading your Bible, (at a chapter a day you could do Mark’s and Luke’s gospels) or reading any other spiritual book, will help you to come closer to God and know more of his love and his will for you.


Or look at 40acts of Generosity, an online resource, sending a daily email with a challenge for you to tackle.  Lent does not have to be repetitive and boring!  Vicar Carol has directed me towards this, and I have signed up – perhaps you could join me and have a go too?  If you don’t do computers, set your own challenges to brighten the lives of others by visiting, writing, phoning or giving to a charity.  Be creative!


Do something, and enjoy the challenge.  Don’t try and do too much – you will almost certainly fail.  At the heart of it, let your aim be to arrive at Easter feeling that you have come closer to God, and that you have made a difference, however small, to someone, somewhere by your kindness and generosity, and yes, maybe even your sacrifice of something.  And may God bless you in your efforts.


Sister Dorothy