Lent: What will your focus be?

Dear Friends,

As you read this we will be well and truly in the season of Lent. Lent is a funny season as many people have heard about giving up something as we enter into the Easter story, yet do not really understand why we do it. We associate Lent with fasting. In the Bible we are told that we might fast in order to try and get closer to God, it helps focus our hearts and minds as we allow other distractions to fall away.

It is common practice to give up chocolate – especially for those who hate the stuff! Some choose to give up alcohol, or meat, others go without a meal one day each week, some will give up screen time or in particular their TV. It is incredible how much time you regain when you switch off the TV!

As a Christian I have practiced fasting through Lent giving up an hour of sleep each day to start my day with prayer instead, I have indeed given up things like the TV, and meat. Rather than focusing on what I am missing I tend to focus on something more positive for example my time with God, and how I love my neighbour. The 40 days of kindness challenge recently released to our local schools pick up on this idea, that each day through Lent try do something extraordinarily kind. We are being selfless in the act yet practising what Jesus taught us exactly – love thy neighbour. Can you incorporate one selfless act each day into your daily schedule? It will involve sacrifice, thoughtfulness, love, and careful listening as you discover the needs of those around you.

Through Lent we remember the passage that tells the story of how Jesus was flung into the desert by the Holy Spirit. We must remember this is not a punishment, it is an opportunity to grow and to understand God’s purposes within the world. This is what happened to Jesus. He was able to focus on God’s will and not give into the temptation to be relevant i.e. feeding the world, to be spectacular, as he resisted throwing himself off a high place, and to be powerful, by resisting the temptation to take control of the world. Jesus chose instead to follow his Fathers footsteps to humbly serve the world through love, mercy and grace. This Lent what will your focus be?

Grace and peace,
Rev’d Caroline