May the power of your love, Lord Christ,
Fiery and sweet as honey,
So absorb our hearts
As to withdraw them from all that is under heaven.
Grant that we may be ready
To die for love of your love,
As you died for love of our love. Amen
Lent is late arriving this year, so by the time Easter arrives there will be no daffodils to adorn the church window sills, and the crocus which reminds me of the purple Lenten Frontals will soon have tucked itself out of sight until next spring.
Our old churchyard is decked out with crocus, daffodils, snowdrops right now, but the Bluebells are heads up, and the dark green shoots of wild garlic can be scented right now, although their buds cannot be seen just yet. I guess that by Easter the Eastern side of the churchyard will be a blue and white carpet, Bluebells and Garlic intermingling beneath the trees.
‘There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under the heaven’
Sitting at a craft table, painting small stones with the mums of the youngsters who were happily riding toy cars up and down the length of our Church Hall, I was asked,
“What are you giving up for Lent?”
Without waiting for a reply, my questioner, told me she was giving up chocolate. Hardly original, but then, most people who have no Church background have a vague sort of idea that giving up chocolate for Lent is what is done in Lent, and indeed, what Lent is all about. I tried to explain a little of what Lent was, and she was astonished to learn that pancakes on Pancake day were a tradition from early times to use up eggs and fat, etc. Soon three or four were chattering away, genuinely surprised that there was so much more than chocolate involved, and so much more to this mysterious Lent, than they had heard about.
“You know, I love just sitting still and being creative like this. I loved being away from home with my husband last weekend. We don’t get to see each other, and talk together that much, it’s all work, we work different times; and it’s all mobile phones and stuff that takes up all your time before you know it, you only intend to spend ten minutes on Facebook and next thing you know, a couple of hours have gone…” the first Mum said, then another joined in with a similar observation, life is too full, to busy, to chaotic and frantic. Where could God possibly get a word in edgeways, where was there time?
I wonder what Saint Francis, would make of chocolate, mobile phones, and Facebook and how would he explain Lent and Easter in days such as these?
How do we persuade people to pick up a Bible, let alone a prayer book? How do we even begin prayer conversations, when there is just no time?
“I need your tongue” Jesus once said to me.
My tongue, your tongue may be just what the Lord needs to get a word in edgeways,
And one thing more. The Lord Jesus needs our love, that His love working through us, speaking louder than words, may invite young and old, men and women, poor and rich, simple and wise to sit down in His shade, to come to His table and taste the Bread of Life. Come, taste and see how good the Lord is.
It is not so much what we give up for Lent but what we take up. All are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb: He needs many to deliver the invitations.
Lent is not a time for keeping silence.
Lent is a time for speaking.
Lent is a time for both sowing and reaping, Jesus says,
“Well, I tell you, look around you, look at the fields; already they are white,ready for harvest! Already the reaper is being paid his wages, already he is bringing in the grain for eternal life, so that sower and reaper can rejoice together.”
Whatever you give up or take up this Lent, I pray that you also will know the power of His love, fiery and sweeter than honey. Amen.
Absorbeat is a prayer attributed to St Francis of Assisi .(c. 1181=1226)
Scriptures; Ecclesiastes chapter 3, John 4. 35,36
I used New Jerusalem Bible