Easter is late this year – 24th April – and therefore Lent does not start on Ash Wednesday until March 9th.   I must admit that personally I’ve never been someone who gave up things for Lent and I can certainly justify that – it’s not in the Reformed tradition.  But… isn’t it amazing how we can rationalise things – how we can justify what we want to.

If I’m honest I should also admit that my birthday tends to come in the period of Lent and this has rather constrained my willingness to give up things! However, it’s not always so!  I was born on Shrove Tuesday and in the over 50 years since then 4 times my birthday has not been in the period of Lent. And, this year of 2011 will be the 5th!!

So, perhaps this year would be a good year to think about giving something up! Or perhaps to take something up!!

We are all creatures of habit – we all have good habits, we all have bad habits and also various habits that are neutral. If we want to get out of a bad habit or start a new habit, Lent is actually a good time to start – 40 days, is sufficient time for a behaviour to become habitual.

Why not?   Or why not take a bit of time this Lent to perhaps deliberately focus on what God may be saying to you or to think about why your Christian faith is important to you and why therefore it might be important to someone else.

We as a Church must regain the art of apologetics and the simple sharing of the meaning of our faith to us. The Tough Questions on a Sunday evening is aimed at trying to help us with this – to help us with our faith – yes – but also thereby to help us in talking to other people.

Also in this context, the Churches Together Lent Course this year looks very interesting: Scripture, Science and The Gospel – We will look together at our foundation in the Scripture in the light of science with a view to giving us confidence to speak of our faith in Jesus Christ.

Each evening will take the three themes of Scripture, Science and the Gospel and explore them from a particular point of view:

  • Tues 15th March – Wonders – our shared passion for beauty
  • Tues 22nd March – Eternity – the size of it all
  • Tues 29th March – Wrestling – the struggles between faith and science
  • Tues 5th April – Truth – living with reality
  • Tues 12th April – Celebration – in all things being fully alive

I do recommend these to you. If you can’t come to them all, why not come to the one or two you can. They are all at the Methodist Church from 20.00 to 21.30 and the series is being led by Alan Keeler.

It’s good to think about these things and to ensure that we don’t just take-on subliminally the atheistic assumptions of much of our culture.

I recently came again upon this rather good narrative:

The ignorant man perceived himself to be his own master in a stationary world.

In time he was persuaded otherwise.

If round, then he must be on the topside and centred in a shallow cosmos.

This too was proven false.

He finally accepted that he was riding a dust speck in a vast universe.

Yet he clung to the notion that there could be no intelligence higher than his own.

Therefore he felt compelled to devise theories of origin, disregarding the evidence of a grand design.

The wise man looked up and confessed to his Creator

“I don’t know. Help me to understand”

Let’s take this opportunity of Lent to improve some of our habits and in particular to maybe improve our habits re God and our Lord Jesus Christ – and to think, to reflect, and to pray!