I wanted to greet people this week with a Happy Ash Wednesday, or even a Happy Lent. But the word “happy” jars slightly when linked to Lent in the same way perhaps that the word “Good” always feels slightly at odds with Friday.
Is there such a thing, or could or should there be such a thing as a Happy Lent? And this year with this the sudden and devastating war in Ukraine the self examination and reflection that Lent requires as individuals seems morphed by the bigger global challenge of this war in Europe.
Lent is a time of wilderness and it should be both deeply challenging on a personal and community level. Lent is a call to prayer for others and the world. Lent is a call to fast, so that we can know the physical hunger that is a daily occurrence for so many in this world. Lent is a time of giving, tithing, when something that belongs to an individual is given over to be shared among many in community. Lent is a time for repair and healing, a chance to be brave and make amends where that is needed and necessary.
Lent is in all these things a call for us as individuals to reflect on the purposes of our own hearts, and try and realign then to the greater needs and purposes of how God wants the world to be. It is a giving over, a spilling over, from the individual little boxes that we inhabit so that we might be connected to others. It is ultimately about a conversion of the heart.
This week as we begin Lent there are a variety of ways we can worship
10am – St Marys – Open Church – Looking at Lent through the theme of forgiveness
10.30am – All Saints – A Holy Communion with Hymns and Junior Church
6.30pm – St Marys – Sung Evensong with Sermon
During the week the Living in Love and Faith course start at All Saints on a Tuesday at 2pm and St Marys on a Wednesday at 7.30pm in the evening. Please let Revd Lizzie know at this stage if you are wanting to join one of these groups as there are still spaces left in both. Groups are also being held at St Anne’s and Easton Christian Gamily Centre as well as one online course. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a space.
If you wish to make donations to charities that are currently collecting for the crisis in Ukraine then amongst others there are the below charities that have launched emergency appeals.
The British Red Cross The British Red Cross |Médecins Sans Frontières | MSF British-Ukranian Aid are helping the injured (britishukrainianaid.org)
I want to leave with you a picture that I am going to reflect on this Sunday, it is mentioned in the foreword of the Lent Reflections Book 2022. It is a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1559) called “The Fight between Carnival and Lent”. It has so much going on in it, including the fight on pulled trolleys between Lady Lent and Carnival, a possibly allegory for the internal conflicts that we all bear in different ways.