My Dear Friends,
Christmas has only just left us, yet the theme of our readings in church continues to make us look at the man who grew from the tiny, fragile baby born in Bethlehem. By now, 2000 years ago, we could expect the Wise Men to be on their way home, the Shepherds moving on to new pastures, and the Stable with new tenants. In other words, “It’s back to normal”.
But just as we see a return to the realities of the life after Christmas so do we see the necessity for Jesus, as an adult, to face up to his adult responsibilities.
Just such a time is “lent” to us. Quite literally we are “lent the 40 days prior to Easter in order that we can face up to the situations of our day – the life and death situations of our humanity. Just as Jesus needed time to grow – and a time in the Wilderness – so no more or less is required of us. We are “lent” this time which begins on Ash Wednesday as an opportunity to reflect on what is real and what is unrealistic in our lives. When Lent starts, be prepared to take up one thing – a weekly Lent Group, a weekly Mass, reading a book which challenges, making time for prayer each day. You have some time now to think – don’t waste it! When something is “lent” to us we ensure we treat it more carefully than what is ours.
In this we will not only have a calendar date for Easter. We will have a date as vital as 25 December. A date which means not just facing reality – but transforming it with new life.
When it comes have a happy and a holy Lent.
Your Friend and Vicar,