Pastor’s Blog March 2017

Over my years in the ministry I have come to value the church calendar in a way that I would never have expected. Growing up, as I did, in a tradition that prided itself on the rejection of liturgy and lectionary and most things associated with the church calendar it was quite easy to imagine that there was only Christmas and Easter. Over the years I have come to value Advent, Lent, Holy Week and Pentecost as God given moments of opportunity to intentionally deepen my walk with God.

I am writing this on Ash Wednesday the first day of Lent, a period of 40 days modelled on Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness that came to be seen as a period of preparation for Easter. Traditionally it was understood as a period of penitence, hence the idea of giving something up for Lent.

In the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology the article on Lent concludes with this sentence (p629), “Christians seek a change of heart during Lent in their relationship to God.”

If that’s the case then it would surely be a good thing for us to participate in, an intentional decision to seek ways to deepen our encounter with God. It does not need to be about giving things up, it could mean taking on something for Lent.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Read a book during Lent. Perhaps something that focuses on the cross. Perhaps something that many other Christians will be reading during this time, the Archbishop of Canterbury has written a book for Lent called, “Dethroning Mammon.”
  • Set apart an extra bit of time for specific focused prayer. Perhaps half an hour on a particular day in each week of Lent.
  • TEAR Fund and Christian Aid both have Lent activities focused on giving and raising awareness of global issues of mission and justice, why not participate in one of those.
  • Join a small group for Lent.

Discipleship involves making conscious choices to grow and develop. As such a season like Lent can be an incentive to taking a small step in the right direction.

Go on give something a go! You know it makes sense.

Phil Dixon