Lent has already started. For some people Lent is an important part of the Christian Calendar, for others it doesn’t matter at all. In the past, Methodists have almost ignored Lent, but these days we take a more enlightened view. Although we don’t have any lent study groups this year, we still have opportunities to celebrate the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday at Davenham. Of course we will also worship the end of Lent on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and most importantly Easter Sunday.
In recent years I have been intrigued by the fact that even secular people seem to be giving things up for Lent. Chris Evans even talked about it during his breakfast show on Radio 2. I guess the idea is about breaking habitats and finding self-discipline. However, we have to be realistic, most of us having given something up for Lent soon get back into the habit after Easter, even if it is just eating chocolate.
While breaking bad habits and finding self-discipline are good things, Lent really is a matter of spiritual discipline. Lent is a time for us to consider our faith and think about God. The original idea of giving things up for Lent was, I think, about creating space for God. In this way of thinking, what we give up should give us more space for God and, in particular, more space for us to reflect on our Christian journey as we journey with Jesus towards his death and resurrection. Lent at its best is a time for us to think about Jesus and all that he has done for us.
So this year, I am going to encourage you to think about your own spiritual life. Is there something you could do to enhance your spiritual life this Lent? Perhaps you could find a book that you have been intending to read for a while and make the space to read it. Maybe you could give yourself a little time to read the Bible each day, starting perhaps at Matthew’s gospel and seeing where it takes you. If reading isn’t your thing, is there something else you could do to help your relationship with God? For example, how about going on a walk to give yourself space to pray? Why not try to use Lent to improve your relationship with God?