The knitted cacti are on the mantelpiece at the Rectory – Lent must be approaching!
On the first Sunday of Lent each year, the story read in church takes us to Jesus’ 40-day period in the wilderness (hence the cacti!). Inspired by the example of Jesus, Christians keep the season of Lent and perhaps take on some personal discipline or commitment.
Lent of course also unites us with the traditions of the other great religions of the world. Repentance, fasting, almsgiving and prayer are shared spiritual disciplines practised by devout followers of many faiths, Jews, Christians and Muslims in particular.
So Lent is an opportunity both to express our solidarity with those of other faiths and also to deepen our own religious practice. However I’ve been surprised at just how many people with no overt religious affiliation still value the discipline of Lent. So how are we going to keep Lent this year?
A short provocative piece might help! It’s called ‘Fasting and Feasting’ but I have no record of who wrote it. I came across it in 2011, so it was not written for these times – it does though seem surprisingly apt!
Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on difference; feast on the unity of life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that sustains.
OK some of that may be a bit naff but not all of it! Is there something there for you?