Peter, one of our ordinands, writes
Lent is a curious time. It can feel like those New Year’s resolutions all over again! I am sure it is the time of year that Cadburys must detect a slight downfall in sales, only to be compensated by the sale of Creme Eggs; in 2015 they reported sales of 200 million eggs in the UK or 3.5 per head of population!!!
Lent is not all about giving things up, sacrificing the things we love, testing your resolve. It is a personal journey from repentance to resurrection, Ash Wednesday at the start of Lent – ash being the ancient symbol of mourning, a sign of repentance for our sins. How apt it seems that by Easter Sunday we celebrate the empty tomb, the risen Christ overcoming death, the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
Our journey through Lent is one of reflection – a time of repentance and recommitment. A time of stocktaking – how are we with God? How, in our fast moving 21st Century lives, do we accommodate that? How do we take in the great cost that Christ paid for our salvation?
Forty days of abstinence is for many the sharing in, to use an old-fashioned word, the ‘travail’ of Christ’s withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. It is also the opportunity for us to draw nearer to Jesus, to seek Him in the wilderness, to encounter Him in the dry places. It is the sacrifice of time that provides for that opportunity – not so much the giving up, but taking up of time, for our hearts and minds to engage in the journey to the cross, that ultimately brings freedom from sin and a relationship with the risen Christ.
You may miss chocolate (or whatever you may have chosen as your personal sacrifice) but let us not miss the opportunity to draw near to Jesus.