I hope you enjoy(ed) your pancakes on Tuesday 25th February. I love pancakes the traditional way with lemon and sugar; how many of you like a savoury pancake? Or do you prefer the luxury version of bananas, ice cream and chocolate sauce and maybe whipped cream on the top?
Well, Lent has begun with Ash Wednesday on the 26th February and many people will have given up some of their luxuries such as biscuits or chocolate, or wine, or alcohol in general. So often Lent is remembered for a time of abstinence.
How about this year doing something different? In the churches of All Saints Belton and St Peter & St Paul, Burgh Castle we are doing different this year. We are following the # Live Lent – Care for God’s Creation 40-Day Challenge. Further information can be found at www.churchofengland.org/livelent
Rather than giving up certain things we are going to be responding to challenges of different ways we can care for God’s creation; making changes to our lifestyles not just for a few days, but hope to continue into the future, such as trying to make at least one journey a week on foot or using public transport, rather than driving the car, or looking in the kitchen or bathroom cupboard to see if there is a product in each that could be switched for something the does not contain harmful chemicals for our environment.
Moorlands Primary Academy will also be linking into this programme with the children having the opportunity to make small changes to their lifestyle too, such as remembering to turn off lights when leaving a room, or chargers once their mobile device is charged. Simple changes that might not seem much, but if we all did it would go towards our care of our environment.
Many people have been inspired by the commitment of Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish environmental activist on climate change, and challenged by the documentaries of Blue Planet II and Climate Change – The Facts presented by the broadcaster and natural historian, David Attenborough. The realisation that we cannot continue to go on using and abusing our natural resources without leaving a dangerous legacy for our children and grandchildren, has made many of us sit up and take notice.
Perhaps this generation will be recognised as one which woke up to the “heavy responsibility laid on human beings and the complete interdependence with creation, which means there is no space for human flourishing outside the flourishing of the natural world.” Ruth Valeri’s book “Saying Yes to Life”.
So Lent can be a time for reflection and making changes in our lives so that we are better equipped and focussed on living life to the full, not selfishly but for the wellbeing of the community and environment around us. It is a time when we might consider the costly commitment Jesus made to sharing his life with humanity and subsequently giving it up to the cross; dying that we might know forgiveness for the sin of our own life and the world; rising to new life as a promise of eternal life and the restoration of both relationship between God and humanity and the re-creation of his world. Maybe we should take seriously the need to treat the world as if our lives depend on it!
Daily life for many people is driven by the meeting of every-day commitments; work, school, managing home and social life. There is little time to sit and reflect; maybe just sitting in front of the TV and/or involving yourself in social media is all you want to do at the end of the day. But, how about spending two or three minutes reading a reflection and responding to a daily challenge. If you would like one of the booklets we are using, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 780210). Or sign up for the daily texts/emails on the website referred to above.