The news has been filled recently with particularly bad weather. Although we have got off pretty lightly here in Birkenhead, our thoughts are still with those who have suffered in the recent flooding. The days are at last beginning to lengthen and hopefully by the time you receive this month’s magazine the weather will have improved. It’s certainly given us plenty to talk about!
Lent is with us as Ash Wednesday fell on 26 February this year when I was privileged to take Collective Worship in Christ Church Primary School and also to celebrate Holy Communion with Imposition of Ashes at the church service. The ashes remind us and literally mark us with an attitude of repentance as we begin our journey towards Easter and the Cross.
The Lenten traditions of prayer, fasting and giving have for the most part, if we’re not careful, been reduced to navel-gazing, giving up alcohol or chocolate (maybe even both) and I’m not sure that giving comes into it much at all.
I would like to challenge each of us to focus on others this year. Here are some examples of what we might do:
for someone you have never prayed for before
for an area of the world you have never prayed for before
for someone who you don’t like
from criticising and judging
from moaning and groaning
from pointless anxiety and fear
encouragement to those who feel doubtful
friendship to someone who is lonely
time to someone that needs a listening ear.
Self-examination is all very well but it can mean that we become too self-absorbed. The tradition of more focused prayer during Lent is a good one and can be practised in so many different ways. A small commitment to increase our prayer life during Lent can, if we manage it, bring about a change to our on-going prayer life. Whether you pray a lot or a little, whether you take yourself off, or pray while washing up, it’s all prayer and valuable. It might be giving to yourself ten minutes while soaking in the bath, or turning the TV off for a while.
You can also join us in our Lent Course from 2pm to 3.30pm on the following Thursdays: 5, 12, 19 and 26 March and 2 April in the Wilfred Owen Room, everyone is very welcome to join us.
Above all spend time with God. That is the heart of our prayer life – to commune with God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I find this works best for me in silence and quiet, and in not trying – in allowing my mind to become still from all the noise outside and inside my head! It’s called contemplation.
Blessings in Christ,
Revd Gerri Tetzlaff