It would be easy to think of Easter as the light at the end of the tunnel of Lent and Holy Week, though understandable, that would be to miss the gifts of the 40 day journey. Lessons learned and opportunities that arise in dark times of difficulty, change and uncertainty are precious jewels that help us to see and recognize the glimpses of Easter in our every day lives, with all their mess and muddle. Lent doesn't have to be a dirge, giving up things just for the sake of it. It comes as the days are lengthening and signs of Spring are blossoming all around us. So maybe we could use Lent to grow in appreciation, to be people who help others to glimpse beauty, not to be peddlers of false joy but to remind ourselves and others of the simple joys that come from reconnecting ourselves with the living world around us and the spiritual hunger within.
I have written a series of prayers (available on request) which I hope will encourage us all to take stock of where we are in our journey of life. I hope we will all give ourselves permission to take time each day to be still, to notice, to appreciate, to look outwards as well as within. I hope we will reflect and discern, as Jesus did in his 40 days in the wilderness, on what our calling is, what our role is in this season of life and where we can make a positive difference in our community, our environment and our world. Lent is more of a marathon than a sprint. It will take us to some challenging places. It will offer us some wonderful opportunities along the way too. It will take us to places of belonging, healing and learning, but also to places of rejection, betrayal, misunderstanding, grief and even to the place of death. Whatever our life’s circumstances these places are real but they are never the whole story, they are never places of ending but of beginning. Easter itself is not a happy ending that quickly overturns Good Friday, it is place of new beginning, as each day is, it is a day that we can celebrate the Light that no darkness can ever overcome. Wishing you a Lent of opportunity, of growth and an Easter full of hope and courage. To complete a marathon you need guts, you need support, you need belief and the courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other until you cross that finishing line. Easter isn't the finishing line, there is no medal, there is more than that there is a Kingdom promise that death does not have the final say. Our journey is from ashes to Alleluias and beyond, and it starts today!