Dear Friends

I think it’s true to say that people don’t particularly look forward to Lent. Childhood memories of giving up chocolate or sweets, or as adults giving up wine are the ideas that dominate the season of Lent today. Words like “sacrifice,” “discipline,” and “self-denial” are often used in ways that suggest that Lent is something to be endured rather than a time of grace and spiritual growth. On the other hand there are the majority of people in the UK who have no idea what Lent means, and neither did their parents and grandparents.

In my musings can I ask you a question? Have you ever thought of Lent as a yearly second chance? Each year the Church in a sense gives us six weeks to take a long, loving, and challenging look at our lives to see if our values and priorities are in line with God’s desires for us. Since most of us find that we’ve wandered from God’s path, Lent can become that second chance, or makeover, to “return to God with our whole heart.”

The variety of Lenten practices are many, peoples experiences range from pious and
traditional to creative and out-of-the-ordinary, but all of them represent attempts to make the season of Lent a meaningful time of prayer, fasting, and giving for themselves, their loved ones, and their communities.

Here are a few light switches that might illuminate something for you during these 40 days. Draw a prayer! Be amazed at how your artistic abilities can flower. Lenten prayer jar which means write down 40 tasks ARKS ( acts of random kindness) and pull one out each day. A note a day. Each day of Lent, through prayer, let a name surface of a person who has had an impact on your life in some way. Then take the time to write a handwritten note to that person.

Whatever you decide this Lent, decide to support one another in whatever you choose to do. As you journey through this annual second chance, remember that each step brings you closer to the welcoming arms of our loving God.

In his grip

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