I’m really not sure that I would agree with all of those things but it is important to understand that lent isn’t about some sort of public show of giving up something we like, with nothing else in view -apart from being able to say that we’ve done it. I can certainly see the value in ridding ourselves of various things for a while so that we can focus on spending time in prayer, demonstrating that our first and foremost desire is for God’s kingdom.
It is also always good if we look for opportunities to demonstrate acts of compassion and mercy towards others, because this reflects the active goodness of our Heavenly Father. That is far more important than just giving up things as a tradition.
Or course there are many in our society for whom the question of giving something up doesn’t really enter into the equation, since they have virtually nothing anyway. It’s why we as a church are looking to support our local food bank. From the beginning of March we will have a box in the church for items for the Wirral Foodbank warehouse [this will replace the Charles Thompson box -we will still support them periodically but our regular weekly donations will now be heading to the foodbank].
These donations will be used to help those in our community who are struggling and may well make the difference between a family being able to eat and a family going hungry. It’s one thing to choose to go without some luxuries, it’s quite another thing to see those who you love going without necessities.
This can be a good way for us to approach Lent far more positively, because we can choose not only to give things up but to give those things which we don’t use, or the money that we save from not having them, to show love and support to others in a way that declares God’s love.
It can remind us that as we prepare for Easter we are also to be preparing for the return of Jesus as king, and one of the things that our king expects is that we take care of the poor and the vulnerable. So do celebrate Lent but do so in ways that make a difference to the world around us and not just to our waistlines!
Wirral Foodbank would particularly welcome any tinned or packaged food and basic toiletries e.g. shampoo, soap etc. Please note that the foodbank does notaccept clothing or bedding, fresh or frozen food.
Andy + Hannah
It’s only a few days after the publication of this newsletter before Lent starts. Traditionally this is the beginning of a time of fasting that doesn’t finish until Easter Sunday.
According to Wikipedia, “Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving and the denial of the ego.”