March this year begins on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, which will continue through the whole of this month, and up to Easter Day on Sunday 16th April. The forty days of Lent (not counting the Sundays) recall the forty days (and nights) that Jesus spent in the wilderness, in a period of testing and reflection, before he began his public ministry. This would have given Jesus some considerable time and opportunity to contemplate what that ministry was to be, and what was God’s plan and purpose for him.
Traditionally the church keeps the season of Lent as a time to take on certain ‘disciplines’, in our own ‘wilderness experience’, as we reflect on Jesus’ time in the wilderness. For many people, those disciplines include some sort of fasting (even as simple as giving up chocolate or alcohol during Lent), but more importantly they should include some sort of reflection on our Christian life and ministry. This could be by reading one of the many Christian books which are produced specially for Lent, or by attending a Lent study group, such as the ‘Life Balance‘ course we will be holding for our Local Ministry Area each Wednesday during Lent at Prendergast Church Hall.
Jesus was able to overcome the temptations of the Devil, which he experienced during his time in the wilderness, by keeping his mind and thoughts focused on God, and what was His plan for his life. In the same way, we should try to focus our thoughts on what God wants us to be, and Lent is traditionally a time to spend a little more time in prayer with God, and to be a little more regular in worship.
This is often a busy time of year for many of us, but I hope that amid all the ‘busy-ness’, we will all use this Lent well, and try to take on some of the traditional disciplines of fasting, spiritual reflection, prayer and worship, so that we may draw closer to God and be strengthened in our spiritual lives.
I wish you all a holy Lent.
Yours in Christ Jesus,
Lent Lunches will be held once again on three Fridays during Lent, with all proceeds going to good causes outside our normal Sunday
giving. All lunches start at 12 noon.
- Friday 3rd March at St Martin’s Church Hall for Shalom House Palliative Care Centre, St Davids
- Friday 17th March at St Martin’s Church Hall for UK Sepsis Trust
- Friday 7th April at St Mary’s Church for St Marks VA School
And something else to try in Lent …..
Lent is often seen as a good time to give up something. But it can also be a good time to do something extra. One thing that that we can do is to make some more time to be able to pray. One resource that can be really useful and might be worth trying this Lent is an internet resource/app called Pray As You Go. This is a recorded reflection on a Bible reading that you can listen to, introduced by a piece of meditative music to help lead you into prayer. Pray As You Go takes around 15 minutes a day to do, so it doesn’t take very long, and it’s the sort of thing that you can listen to with earphones if sitting on a bus, sitting in a waiting room or just going for a walk. One of the great advantages of it is that it means that you don’t have to think about what to pray about. You simply let the recording lead you. Maybe this might be something to give a try this Lent.