I was asked the following question recently ‘What does the word Lent mean?’
The word Lent is derived from the Old English lencten, which means "lengthen." It refers to the lengthening of the daylight hours that occurs in the northern hemisphere as spring approaches. It is in this period of transition from late winter to early spring that the season of Lent falls.
But what is Lent about for us as followers of Christ and how can we use that time fruitfully? Lent reminds us of the forty days that Christ spent in the Wilderness, coping with the temptations of the world and spending time in prayer and contemplation preparing himself for his ministry.
So how for us today can we use this season of Lent? We are unlikely to be in a position to go off for 40 days, tempting as that might seem, and anyway, I would want somewhere much more comfortable than a Wilderness. For many, Lent is a time to give up something like chocolates or wine. But although that is a good discipline, it is not very productive unless you use the money you have saved for a good cause. Lent is rather a journey of self-discovery, an opportunity to deepen our relationship with God, to take time out to read the scriptures, read a spiritual book, spend time listening to God, soak in the wonders of his creation. In the benefice there will be the opportunity to join the Lent course as we explore in greater depth the prayer Jesus gave us; come and spend an hour or so on the Benefice Quiet or perhaps join us at A Time to Pray on a Thursday morning.
So, as we begin that journey turning away from the crib towards the cross let us find time in all the busyness of life to deepen our relationship with God and to experience the abundance of his love for each one of us.
I wish you a truly fruitful and blessed Lent.
Yours in Christ