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Lent Reflections

Lent is an invitation to accompany Jesus, to create a space away from the distractions of the world where we can see him in a new way (Mark 9: 2-9). It's about going higher and deeper so that we are renewed in our minds, spirits and body.

Lent lasts for 40 days - which is short enough to be manageable, but long enough to create a new habit which reboots your spiritual life.

A journey up a mountain consists of small steps, one after the other. Each step feels like no progress is being made. But then we look back and see the view.

Just take a step. 

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and is a short service to focus on three things

We acknowledge that the tentacles of sin reach deep into our lives and into the world. And so we need to repent, to turn around.

It leads us to an attitude of humility - recognising that we are created by God, made of dust and are his children. We share that identity with all people and with all created things. 

We face up to our mortality: "remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return". Living in this light means we live better and value what is most important. 

Think of Lent like a spiritual training programme, devised over centuries of wisdom so that we are renewed.

As with all training programmes we need to do things which stretch us a bit. But equally we should avoid the compulsion to do too much so we end up failing.

Over the 40 days just commit to take one step, each day in each of the three themes of Lent which Jesus refers to in Matthew chapter 6:  Fast, Pray and Give

In Matthew 6: 16 Jesus says "When you fast ...... " as though it is a normal thing we should be doing.

Fasting means that we bring our bodies into our prayer and choose a discipline which confronts the things which dominate us. We might deny ourselves meat, or alcohol or chocolate. We might face our obsessions and renounce social media, or doom-scrolling the news.

Members of the congregation have suggested eating just rice and beans for one day a week - in solidarity with most of the world's population. Or deliberately using less water to value this most precious resource.

Choose just one thing which will stretch you a bit and try it.

Jesus says "When you pray ......." But we find it so difficult.

Score your prayer life from 1-10 where a score of 1 = I never pray and a score of 10 = I pray like the Pope.

Don't try to pray like the Pope, you won't make it. Just decide to do something which will increase your score by 1 or 2 points and stick to it for 40 days.

 

See how God moves to you as you take a step towards Him.

The list opposite gives you some ideas. And there are some prayers at the bottom of the page that you can pray every day.

Jesus says "And when you give alms ......"

We tend to be very focused on what we lack, on what we think we need.

The discipline of Lent is to focus on what we have, to be grateful for God's gifts to us and to give. So in Lent, just for 40 days, give a bit more than you normally give. And you'll find that you'll receive.

Some prayers that might be helpful

                     Book of Common Prayer,

           Morning Prayer, The Collect for Grace

 

O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, 

Who has safely brought us to the beginning of this day,

Defend us in the same with thy mighty power,

And grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger,

But that all our doings may be ordered by thy governance,

To do always that is righteous in thy sight,

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

                      The Jesus Prayer

               Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God

                Have mercy on me, a sinner

As you breathe in, say the first part.

Pause.

Breathe out as you say the second part.

Pause.

Repeat 12 times, trying to focus on your breathing. Increase repetitions as you get used to it.

          If you have any prayers you'd like to share with others drop us a line on hello@stannesbaslow.org.uk and we'll              post them on this page

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