Ministers February 2021 Message
I recently came across this photo which was taken last year on Shrove Tuesday at Willamwood High School. It seems like another world right now! Shrove Tuesday marks the day before Lent and this was the last day I was able to go into the school before lockdown.
Although the Chaplaincy Team have managed to put together some Zoom presentations for the pupils since then, the photo offers a poignant reminder of what cannot be this Lent. Nothing, whether it is school, work, social, religious, or political lives, has been left untouched by the pandemic that has swept the world since this time last year.
The name Lent comes from an ancient word meaning ‘spring’ or ‘long’, referring to the time of year when days are beginning to lengthen and the world is turning from winter cold and dark to the hope, warmth and promise of spring. We perhaps imagine that the hope of Lent has something to do with making our way through it by denying ourselves something we love or enjoy so we can fully celebrate Easter. While Lent is certainly associated with a time of self-sacrifice, the hope of Lent is also that our faith will be deepened so we can face anything the world can throw at us.
It’s easy to lose hope amidst such terrible circumstances, and perhaps it’s even easier for people to place their hope in the wrong things. Placing hope in the wrong things is the temptation Jesus faced when he spent 40 days in the wilderness after His baptism in the River Jordan. Each time Jesus was tempted in the wilderness he refused to give in because, by doing so, He would have forsaken his true purpose in life to share the hope of God’s love for the world and all people.
Many things in the world right now, tempt us to lose hope but alongside these temptations, there are also visible signs of things that are right with the world too. There are clear signs of despair giving way to hope, not only in the form of vaccines, but also in the kindness, selfless courage and loving actions being undertaken by so many for the wellbeing of others.
So I am wondering what might happen if we all gave up a few minutes of our time each day to reflect on a reason for hope that we see around us or in the world; and if we offered a prayer of thanksgiving for this hope and if we also made this a daily practice during the 40 days of Lent? Might we be inspired to carry within us and share with others the hope that strengthens and guides us to follow in the footsteps of our Lord?
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” [Romans 15.13]
May God so bless you with hope on your Lenten journey this year.
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