Well, Christmas was eventful – a fall down the stairs caused by clumsiness, carrying too many things at once and a scatty cat left me rather battered and bruised and in some places broken. This was not a good way to start Christmas week! So there was no last minute shopping, help was needed with the food prep and everyone mucked in with present wrapping. It made me realise again that there are many things I take for granted, simple things like getting out of the bath or being able to pop down to the shops. I was so grateful for all the help I received. But it’s all on the mend now and the cast should be coming off very soon, thank goodness. I’m very lucky it was only temporary and it could have been a lot worse; my heart goes out to people who live with pain and disability on a daily basis.
But the frustration of not being able to do very much has left me in the mood for Lent. The time between Christmas and Lent was very short this year, with Shrove Tuesday – or Pancake Day as it’s more commonly known these days – falling on 8 February followed by Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent the following day. Forty days, not including Sundays, in which we traditionally give something up or go without.
However, I wonder if we should reinvent it and think about what would make a good Lent? Not one that makes us miserable but one that makes us thoughtful and reflective.
These forty days reflect Jesus’ time of temptation in the desert and they give us time to stop and think in a way that Advent never quite manages. There are no other distractions, no presents to buy except maybe a few chocolate eggs for Easter, not so many expectations of family gatherings and food.
Lent gives us time to think about our lives, to celebrate and give thanks for the things that are good and reflect on the things we need to change, take on or give up. In short, a time to assess our lives, our faith and relationship with God and with the people around us.
It’s a time to explore, sort things out, put things right and clear out the clutter – physical, emotional and spiritual. It’s also a time to think about what we really believe.
It should not a depressing time but a time of preparation for the resurrection experience at Easter. A time to be honest and to allow god to work in our lives.
Perhaps giving something up or consciously taking something on reminds us and helps us focus the task of reflection.
At the heart if this is a desire to bring new spiritual energy into our lives, leaving more room for ourselves to grow and for our relationships to flourish. I suppose we could day it’s a time of soul searching if we allow ourselves to engage with it.
I look forward to worshipping with you in the coming weeks.