Helen Kirk: February 2016
What are you giving up for Lent? My son, when he was only little, was asked this question and without a moment's hesitation replied "Vegetables!" It is how many people mark this time of year by giving up chocolate, wine, biscuits, sugar or whatever we feel is not good for us. In ecclesiastical terms this is the time when we should be penitent and repent; be truly sorry for our wicked ways and turn back to God. The problem is that most of us don't feel particularly sinful or wicked. So what does Lent mean for us?
Well, perhaps one way of looking at it is to say that our lives are a bit like a house whose occupants have gone away for a while — everything is quite neat and tidy but there is a film of dust that creeps over the furniture covering each and every surface. It is the dust of complacency, of apathy. It is dust that accumulates when we are too busy to care. It is the dust of unattended relationships, withheld apologies, face saving untruths, small moral lapses, the suppression of our spiritual yearning, our terrible hunger for God, for meaning and love. It is nothing incredibly 'sinful' but it takes the sheen off our lives. It prevents us from being all that God longs for us to be. We need a good dust!
Lent therefore is the time to recognize the dust that has accumulated in our lives. Through repentance (turning towards God), receiving forgiveness and then changing our actions we are dusted, refreshed, and renewed. It is not necessarily about what we give up but instead what we do. It is about our care and compassion; our relationships with others as well as with God; it concerns living justly and with integrity; the use of our time and our wealth. The challenge is not to give up one thing but to shake off the dust of our lives and follow Jesus as he journeys towards a cross that ultimately, through sacrificial love, transforms our humanity.
So the question as we begin Lent is not 'what are you giving up?' but 'what will you do?'
popular recent storiesAlso in the news
Dear Friends,I hope and trust all goes well with you and yours. I am sure you share my prayer that a vaccine will soon emerge so that something of the normality for which we grieve will soon re-emerge.Can I apologise for the problems with sound on the stream since we returned to church. We think this is something to do with the stream and so beyond our control. Unfortunately the man who...
Richard has a Marmite moment with Jonah, especially with his reaction in Jonah 4:1-10.Jonah's Anger at the LORD's Compassion1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, "Isn't this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God...
During the lock down, people have been sending me cheques by post or making a direct payment to the Church bank account. Now that services have re commenced you can revert to taking your collection to Church in the normal way. However, if you decide not to attend Church yet, please continue sending cheques to me, made payable to "Aylesbury Methodist Church". Thank you to all those...
Community centre - Cards for Good Causes: 30 local and national charities