Vicar's letter February / March 2020

Although church-going plays little part in most people’s lives these days, many people continue the tradition of  “giving up” something for Lent.  These acts of self-denial often include going without chocolate or alcohol and some people give the money that they would have spent on these things to charity, remembering those who are in need of help or support, in this country or abroad.  There is something to be said for the feeling of success when we manage to keep up the discipline for the full forty days before Easter.

Somehow, in the midst of this tradition, the original intention has been lost for many people.  When the custom began, the act of “going without” was to create a greater awareness of the need for God and to make extra time to spend in prayer and study.  It was not intended to be an act of self-discipline but a time of deepening spirituality and faith. 

In an attempt to return to this intention many Christians now choose to focus their attention during Lent on God’s love and to take action to make this a reality in the world.  The forty days, for them, are filled with attempts to help other people to feel valued and significant.  Some people choose to carry out forty “random acts of kindness”, which can take their recipients by surprise, whilst others take time to catch up with friends or neighbours they haven’t seen in a while, either in person, by letter or on the phone.  For some their Lenten discipline takes the form of being positive about one thing each day, or ensuring that they spend time with family members during the week  -  no “devices” allowed.  Some people do something to love our planet and turn their hand to recycling, reducing their carbon footprint or conserving our wildlife.  There are those who have found their Lenten project to be so life-giving that they keep it up all year!

Sometimes it is good for us to mark out a period of time when we live a bit differently to the rest of the year.  Lent begins on 26th February this year  -  perhaps there is something you could do for forty days (until Easter Day on 12th April) that will make your world, or someone else’s, just a bit brighter and more loving.  You may even find that it begins a whole new way of life……

 

With every blessing,

Lynn

 

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