Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent
This month sees the beginning of Lent, the 40 days of preparation running up to Easter. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on Wednesday 17th February.
The forty days of Lent is a reference to the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert fasting and praying, and preparing for his public ministry. He also taught his disciples to fast, so that they had time to focus on God and make time for prayer. Prayer and fasting often go hand in hand; ‘So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.’ (Ezra 6:23)
Sometimes people might fast by missing a meal during the day to make time to seek God (although obviously this isn’t suitable for some people). Others might refrain from TV or alcohol, or whatever else might get in the way of being fully focused on God.
In recent years, there have been campaigns to encourage people to start doing something during Lent, instead of giving something up. These might include carrying out a random act of kindness every day, or something more planned such as volunteering, or actively helping a neighbour in need.
Celebrate the start of Lent, and commit to giving something up, or starting something new, at the Ash Wednesday service at St Peter’s Church on Wednesday 17th February at 7.30pm.