Ros's March letter
During this month we journey through Lent towards Easter. We are heading towards the cross and the empty tomb. Easter is a special time of the year when we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. Lent has traditionally been seen as a time of preparation for Easter, a time of getting ready. Preparation takes time and effort.
When I go away on holiday or study leave then I don't just get to the day and then go. Plans have to be made in advance, packing has to be done, arrangements have to be put in place. Likewise when we have a big celebration there is much that has to be done in advance in order for the event to happen. When my niece got married last summer, the whole thing had taken months of organising and we had been sent a 'Save the Date' card well over a year in advance. Nothing was left to chance, although there were a number of hiccups on the day, including a flooded road that meant an altered route for us.
Jesus jad spent time trying to prepare his disciples for his death. He had spoken to them a number of times about what was going to happen regarding his death and resurrection. He had sent them out in pairs to sample what ministry was really like. He had promised them that they wouldn't be abandoned but would receive the Holy Spirit.
All this was part of the procvess of preparation for them. Of course, we know that this wasn't totally understood at the time by the disciples and it was only in hindsight that they were able to make sense of it all. But the preparation of the disciples was undertaken by Jesus. He saw it as important, even if they didn't understand or appreciate it at the time.
If we choose to take Lent seriously it gives us an opportunity to focus on our relationship with God and our life of faith. It is about much more than a time for giving something up. It can be a real deepening of our relationship with God and a challenge to us as to what impact our faith has on daily life. Sometimes we can be guilty of trivialising Lent, or we ignore it completely by choosing to get on with business as usual.
There are many ways we can use Lent as a time of preparation. There are many resources available for us to use Lent constructively to take stock of our relationship with God and our walk of faith. These resources offer a variety of ways of using Lent. Some are meant to challenge our understanding of God. Some have an emphasis on teaching. Some are much more task orientated, giving us practical things to do each day. Some are weighty tomes that take up a lot of time while others are in bite-sized chunks. There is bound to be something that will encourage your faith, if you care to look for it.
Let each of us be challenged to spend time and energy this Lent in tending our relationship with God and being challenged in how we live out our faith in our daily lives. May this Lent be a time of transformation for each one of us.