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Church News Volume 4, Issue 5

Dear friends,

With the date of Easter being so late this year Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, doesn't arrive until 5th March.

The popular view of Lent is that it is a time to give things up-like chocolate, biscuits, sweets, etc. All this can be very laudable if, giving some things up that you enjoy. it is for the purpose of redirecting the money you would have spent on these things to some charitable work, or the mission of the church. To give something up for Lent only has spiritual benefit if it is directed towards doing good towards someone else or the furtherance of our personal faith, or indeed, both.

The idea of giving things up is not a peculiarly Christian notion, but can be found in most major religions. Giving up things you enjoy in order to try and tame the body's desires, or to punish yourself for sin you have committed, is still widely practiced by religious and non religious people alike. Just look at the dieting industry and the success of many advertising campaigns based on food "which is naughty but nicel". Indeed, Ash Wednesday takes its title from the common practice still carried out in many churches during Ash Wednesday services of reminding those present of their sins by placing ash upon their foreheads as a sign of repentance.

"Remember O man that dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return!"

are the words used at the imposition of the ashes in church. A stark reminder that no matter what we do or not do, in our lives, we shall return to ash and be held accountable for our sins before God - who has the power to forgive and to raise again from the dead those who truly repent. But I believe Lent should not just be about giving things up. It should be about doing something positive with the 40 days of the season. Rather than give things up, do extra things that will allow your faith to grow. Study the Bible for a few minutes each day. Try and say your prayers more regularly, or start to do so. Come to church on Sunday on a more regularly basis than just for the Carol service at Christmas. Find a good book which will guide you to thinking deeper about your faith. Attend a study group to broaden your understanding of faith issues, or indeed of other people's faith (see over for details of the Lent course for this year on "World Religions".

Be positive, keep a good Lent.

Be ready for Holy Week and Easter

Rev'd Ian M. Finn

News Letter Archive.

Last Modified Wednesday 25 May 2011