Thought for the month
Right now, we are in the middle of the season of Lent. Most people associate this season in the Church’s calendar with giving something up. We might try to curb our sweet tooth with a ban on chocolate, for instance, or sign off social media for a little while and put down our phones. This isn’t necessarily a bad practice… Occasionally doing without some luxury can help us remember that it really is a luxury and we shouldn’t take it for granted. We can very quickly forget this if we have easy and unrestricted access to pretty much anything we want any time. But this association with self-denial can make Lent seem like a rather negative season that no one looks forward to very much. These days, society generally forgets about Lent and carries on as usual, looking forward to spring and starting to think about what to plant in the garden. But I think when we set Lent aside as too depressing or too austere, we miss an important opportunity.
The original point of this season was a reminder to Christians that we regularly need to step away from all that distracts us, and diverts our attention and refocus on God, the source of our life and our hope. We set aside luxuries, not because they are bad or wrong in themselves, but because they can often be the distractions we need to get away from for awhile in order to do this. And for this season, for these forty days, we have an opportunity not just to get away from distraction but by doing so to turn our attention back to the God who is always ready to welcome us.
And when we do that, we can gain so much - a reminder that we’re not alone and a source of hope when life seems at its darkest. Here at the end of winter with the signs of the coming spring starting to appear, Lent is our reminder that there is no better opportunity to turn our attention back to God as we look forward to the promise that comes with Easter.
Reverend Dr Louisa Pittman