A Different Take on Lent

A Different Take on Lent

I wonder what you might be doing on Wednesday 6th March? As you will know, for Christians the celebration of Easter is preceded by the forty days of Lent. This year, Easter will be celebrated on 21st April, so working backwards, the 40 days of Lent will start on Wednesday 6th March. (If you are doing the arithmetic, Sundays aren’t counted when doing the calculation.)

Many people try and give things up for Lent, and perhaps donate to charity the money they would have spent on luxuries like chocolate or alcohol.  Supporting a particular charity can of course be an excellent way of marking the 40 days of Lent.

But there’s another take on Lent. The 40 days refer back to the 40 days which Jesus spent in the wilderness.  Before Jesus started his work as a preacher and healer, he deliberately set aside a period of 40 days to think things through, without distractions from his family or his friends. Jesus needed space, and the only way he could find this space was by going out into the wilderness.

Most of us are unlikely to be able to take 40 days off, away from the duties and distractions which surround us. But all of us can try and carve out at least some space in which to think about things - about the things and people that are most important in our lives, about the opportunities which we have, the choices which we face. If we are to make good decisions about ourselves and about those we love, we need to give ourselves a bit of space in which to think things through.

Sometimes space is simply about time; sometimes it is also about a physical place, a building perhaps where we can just sit and be quiet and reflect. Many people find church buildings helpful for this purpose. This is one reason why I try and keep our church buildings open, so that there’s somewhere to go, simply to sit and reflect. There’s no charge - you just open the door, walk in and find somewhere to sit.  Stay as long as you like.

Our lives are busy and complicated, but I do hope that we will all manage to find a bit of space this Lent – space for ourselves, and space for God.

Fr Jason