In our family March is the month of birthdays, with several of us celebrating the day of our birth in this often, blustery month. This seems to sit in stark contrast to the season of Lent that we travel through as a Christian community, which speaks of self-examination, prayer and fasting. How can these two important seemingly contrasting threads in my life, both be honoured and upheld?
I think the answer can be found in the pages of the gospels, where Jesus has clearly mastered the art of holding life in all its humanity firmly together in His hands. On His journey to Jerusalem, He continued to encounter those who needed healing by the side of the road, He taught His disciples, He ate with those that He met along the way, including Zacchaeus, and He blessed the little children showing their importance to His disciples both then and now. He rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday with the crowds shouting, cheering and celebrating, and He experienced the despair and pain of Maundy Thursday as He prepared for the terrible events of Good Friday.
Jesus is the Lord of humanity, He is Lord of the messiness and tension that being human brings with it. Birthdays for our family mean food, family and celebration, we gather together, often remembering past birthdays, looking at the year that we have had, its events both highs and lows, and look forward to the coming year, and all that will bring. Lent is a little bit like this, a traditional time of waiting and preparation as we look forward to Holy Week and all that this brings with it. As we wait, let us remember that to wait is a verb, and so this year we could actively wait in many ways: There is the weekly Lent course, which is being held in H & D’s this year at 7.30pm each Tuesday evening, this will enable us to gather to journey through this season together. We could commit to reading a particular book, or read through one of the gospels, to remind ourselves of the whole of Jesus’ journey, and how He travelled towards the cross. Maybe we might have a ‘quiet morning’ each week, allowing the silence and stillness to make room for God in our busy lives.
However, we choose to travel through Lent this year, whether it is adding in an extra activity, or by fasting from something that we enjoy eating or doing. Let us do it with our eyes firmly fixed upon the one whom we are journeying with and towards, Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Saviour, the One who holds us all in His loving arms, those arms that were stretched out upon the cross for our sake.
With every blessing, Sue