By Philip Barringer, Pioneer Minister
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
Now remain in my love…” (John 15:9)
No sooner had they finished with Christmas, than shops were getting ready for Easter! Chocolate eggs began appearing on the shelves before New Year’s Day, and for some brands the transformation from Chocolate reindeer to Easter bunny was just a matter of changing the foil wrapper!
But this month sees that start of Lent, the traditional period in the Church calendar of preparation for Easter. For many this is as a period of abstinence or fasting – giving something up as a spiritual discipline.
This year, by a peculiar twist, Ash Wednesday – the start of lent – happens to fall on 14th February, St. Valentine’s Day, which might lead to an early test of resolve if you are planning to give up chocolate, or alcohol, for example, and someone buys chocolates and Prosecco for you as a Valentine’s Day gift!
Valentine’s Day is, of course, a day dedicated to love, when we let the one we love know it, and make a special effort to spend time together and invest in the relationship.
I would like to suggest that this is a perfect way to set thinking on Lent. The whole point of Lent is to give us an opportunity to review our relationship with Jesus and spend time investing in it, and the way we do that is through prayer.
At our recent Parish Weekend we explored various ways in which we can engage in prayer, the talks from the weekend were recorded and are available to be downloaded if you weren’t able to be there. Also, over the course of Lent we will be following a sermon series ‘Teach us to Pray’, looking at The Lord’s Prayer.
So this Valentine’s day, start the Season of Lent by setting aside time to let Jesus know how much you love him, and if you are intending to give something up for Lent, make it something that creates time for you to spend more time praying, and put into practice the things we have been learning.