Having grown up in a non-liturgical environment, it has been great to look at the rich liturgy around us that the church has passed on, as well as some amazing traditions. We are largely formed by our past heritage, and in my case, this means that I can look at the Church calendar with fresh eyes, and be awed by things that so many have become numb too. Let’s take Lent for example.
In the past 2 years, Lent has had a strong impact on my life. Not because I have given up something, but because of the time of reflectio
n and solitude. I am amazed at how Lent has been commercialised and boiled down to a period of self-sacrifice, displays to each other and to God of our amazing ability to resist chocolate. Lent is often used as a period of detox after the Christmas indulgence. And for some, I suppose it temporarily scratches that spiritual itch in their lives.
Well, today is Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake day, a day before Ash Wednesday, where traditionally, rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar could be used up, before the fasting period. Now too many, a wilderness experience is a time of no chocolate (Mel would definitely agree to this…) But its more than this. It is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time to really look at yourself and your life, the good, the bad and the ugly. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism, whereas, today, Christians tend to focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.
Lent is a time of preparation for the Easter event. I think we’ve become so numb as to what Easter really is, that when we don’t take lent seriously, we often miss out on what God has in store for us at Easter. So my prayer is that you will find a way to connect, reflect and re-evaluate your life. Take some time in solitude and know that this is a period of wilderness, where you will feel alone, as we prepare for the massive celebration of Easter!