Put a spring in your step for Lent
I finished last month’s letter by encouraging you to be positive about 2018, to turn any regrets from 2017 into opportunities for 2018, to be positive about the year. Spring is a lovely time; a time when, personally, I feel positive about things. Spring, you may have noticed, is just around the corner.
Nature is doing some very strange things. In December, I saw gorse bushes starting to put out their bright yellow flowers – I saw this in the New Forest, and I saw it when walking in the Pentlands in Scotland. Much closer to home, we have crocuses that are appearing in the our garden, and I’ve heard reports of daffodils being seen already.
The year moves on, into the second month, and there are these signs of things to come – good things. Spring: with all it’s growth, better weather (hopefully), lengthening days, warmer days, getting out in the garden again, going for more walks. We are fortunate where we live that we can see the signs in nature … if we just take the time to look for them.
And so it is with the Church year; it too moves on – to exciting things to come. In no time at all we will be celebrating Easter once again – the major, most exciting and important time in our calendar. (Easter is quite early this year; being celebrated on the first day of April. The earliest it can be is 22 March, but the last time that happened was 1818!) Then, before you know it, we will be celebrating Pentecost again.
These things are just around the corner, and there are signs of Easter coming. On 14 February, apart from it being Valentine’s Day it is also Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. (N.B. There’s a service at 7:30pm!) Many people see this as a quiet, reflective, contemplative time, and indeed it is. It is also, if you let it be, a time of personal spiritual growth. It is a time when we can look forward to what is to come – the joy of Easter – and be ready for that, but we can only be ready by preparing ourselves for it. Applying a gardening metaphor: by doing a bit of spiritual, inward pruning, so that we get good, strong growth from Easter. To be ready to remember the death (for you) of Jesus on Good Friday, and be ready to celebrate the joy of his resurrection at Easter, then we need to set aside time to prepare for it.
I encourage you to think about Lent this year, and use it as a time of preparation, ready for the growth that will come from it and the wonderful joy of Easter. Do not have any regrets at the end of this Lent – be positive about it. God bless.
Revd David Commander, Rector