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Sarah’s Soundings: March 2019

 

As I write this the first signs of spring are starting to appear and, Easter being late this year, with Spring comes the season of Lent. The great fast of the Christian year, Lent is, as we know a time for giving things up, whether bad habits or indulgences (great or small). It’s also a time to take something up. This might be prayer or study, giving to charity or particular acts of kindness. All of these are, it goes without saying good things. But it is worth thinking why any of these things are associated with Lent.

Lent lasts for forty days (well really forty days plus Sundays) and it lasts for forty days because Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days after his baptism and before his public ministry began (Luke 4:1-2). Forty is a significant number more generally in the Bible; Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:18); Elijah spent 40 days travelling to Mount Horeb (I Kings 19:8), and God’s people spent 40 years wandering in the desert (Numbers 14:33). The number 40 connects all of these; all episodes in which something vitally important took place. (It may or may not be a coincidence that a full-term pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks). Forty is not simply a long length of time, but a time in which significant transformation can happen, in which a person, or a whole people are formed into who God wants them to be.

All these episodes were wilderness experiences; times spent in wild and dangerous places, where one of the things learned was dependence on God. This is what Lent in the Christian year attempts to copy: creating a time where we can prepare our hearts and minds for Easter. This what the giving up and the taking up is all about: not hardship and difficulty for its own sake, but a way of creating a wilderness space in our own ordinary lives so that we too might, a little more, become who God wants us to be.

So with this in mind why not take a look at some of the things that are being organised this Lent and consider what will help you on your journey with God..

 

Rev Sarah

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All Saints’ Church

Prayer for March

Shine in our darkness, Lord,

Dispel the doubt and fear that cling so close.

Turn the weak moonlight of our faith to brighter day

In which we see your radiance, know your love.

 

Eddie Askew c 2008 

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