By the time you read this, you may already be struggling to resist the temptation to unwarp a surreptitiously hidden bar of
chocolate, or to accept the piece of cake offered (so as not to offend the person who has made it)! Lent is often approached
with a certain amount of fear and trepidation. It is usually seen as a time of self-discipline and self denial. A time of “sack cloth and ashes,” with self-examination and feeling guilty about the many ways in which we fall short of the standards that God calls us to live by as followers of Christ.
The word “Lent” however has its roots in an Anglo Saxon word “Lencten” meaning “spring.” Spring is one of my favourite
seasons. The long cold and dark days of winter are passing and the world is re-awaking with new energy and colour. As trees come into bud, and snow drops, daffodils and many other flowers push up through the soil, there is a real sense of
expectation and promise of what is to come.
Like the season of the year, Lent is a time full of expectation and promise. It is a time for re-awakening our spiritual senses, as we look forward to a joyful celebration of the new life offered through Christ’s Cross and Resurrection. Just as in the garden, things don’t come to full fruition unless we put in a little effort, digging over the soil and rooting out the
weeds; if we wish to experience the full joy of Easter, we need to put in a little work during Lent to prepare the ground.
Seen in this light, a little extra time in prayer study and reflection doesn’t seem so bad?
Lent gives us a chance to rediscover the wonder and beauty of God’s love for us. Everything that we do – prayer, study, and
self-examination, is offered as a loving response to the love that he first offers us. As we journey through Lent this year, may it be a time of growth and renewal, so that we may indeed know the joy of Easter.
Wishing you every blessing,
Jonathan Hall, Vicar of Aylesford and Eccles
Posted In : Vicar's Monthly Letters