Here we are in March and spring is on its way. At the end of the month we’ll put the clocks forward and look forward to lighter evenings. We’ve had a short respite in the church’s calendar with Easter being so late this year, which has enabled us all to get our collective breath back after the Christmas season, and Revd Carol Pharaoh our new Team Rector, has had some time to settle in before the onset of Lent with Ash Wednesday on 6th March.
In my last letter I mentioned New Year resolutions which may be in the dim and distant past now and best forgotten, but with Lent we think about making other resolutions. How are we going to make the most of Lent? What shall we give up or take up to help us grow in our relationship with God? The exercise of self-discipline required in giving up sweets, chocolates, cakes, biscuits or alcohol might be just what we need. In a world where instant gratification is becoming the norm, a little self-denial can only be good for our spiritual life. Plus any money we save can be given to a good cause. However, it could be that taking up some spiritual reading or pledging ourselves to pray daily through Lent, perhaps following one of the excellent resources available, might be just what we need. We are planning a joint Team Lent course again this year. Maybe that’s something you’d like to come along to? Or maybe you’re more hands on and prefer to do something practical to help others as a means of being more Christ-like.
This year we’re hosting the Lent Meditations at St Katharine’s on Wednesday mornings. Revd Gill and Fr Kevin will be sharing that with me. Then again on Wednesday evenings we have the Stations of the Cross followed by Holy Communion. If you have never been to the Stations I can thoroughly recommend them. The idea is that we follow the way of the cross with Jesus from his arrest to his crucifixion and resurrection, pausing at each station to hear a short meditation and a prayer. It enables a time of reflection and quietness and can be a very moving experience bringing home the suffering and passion of our Lord which he endured for each one of us. Each week is complete in itself so feel free to come when you can make it. It takes about 30 minutes to walk them all and then you can stay for Holy Communion if you wish.
Lent is a penitential season when we recognize our human sinfulness and our need of God’s forgiveness, but also it should be a time of growing closer to God when we consider all that Jesus has done for us so that we can have life in all its fullness. So I pray that you will make the most of the opportunity to be reflective and take stock of your Christian journey so far and then, when Easter comes, you’ll truly want to celebrate the risen Lord.