Cllr Rev Ann Easter, Renewal Programme and Chaplain to the Queen life-launders for Lent
PUBLISHED: 09:24 04 March 2015
God's spring offer to us is the chance to do a bit of life-laundering!
The Christian season of Lent began with Ash Wednesday, February 18, and it lasts for almost six weeks until the great festival of Easter.
Traditionally, Lent – which is an old English word for spring – has been a time to deprive ourselves of rich food, spend a lot of time in prayer and give to charitable causes. Whole communities lived through Lent together, sharing the fasting, in a way very similar to our Muslim neighbours during their fast of Ramadan.
Nowadays, however, there’s more variation in the way Christians keep Lent and different churches will have things like programmes of study or special days of silence and meditation.
I believe that, during Lent, God invites us to let go of what is really holding us back from living life in all its fullness. Not just the everyday excesses – though, if we’re harming our bodies with too much chocolate or alcohol that’s not a bad idea – but the deeper issues we’ve almost hidden; that burning guilt about the times we’ve hurt someone or the resentment and anger that festers towards those who once hurt us; the crushing feeling that we’re somehow not good enough or the envy we harbour of those who seem so much more beautiful or confident or rich.
God invites us to let those destructive feelings go, to forgive others and to forgive ourselves; to keep on trying and growing so that gradually, we come to realise that God loves each and every one of us and God is just longing for us to believe it.