As is often the case, the March magazine is published as we begin Lent. Once again we have an opportunity to use this month as a preparation for the great festival of Easter, with the powerful themes of death and resurrection; themes that we see all around us.
Death and resurrection are themes that we see in nature, partly through the changing seasons, but also through cultivation. Cutting back plants is a way of encouraging growth, as is digging out weeds and spreading fertiliser. In our spiritual life there are many ways of applying these principles. Cutting back can give us a positive reason for giving things up. Jesus was particularly good at spending time in prayer so he knew what to say ‘no’ to.
The digging up of weeds can also represent the cutting out of things in our lives that are not helpful; whilst sowing new plants or seeds can be a picture of something that will lead to growth.
It is helpful if we take time to discern the areas of our lives that leave us more desolate or diminished so are good things to stop. It could also lead to the whole area of confession as we face up to areas in our lives that need to change. Confession then becomes a positive experience as the fault is faced up to and dealt with by decisively turning away from it. By God’s grace we are then set free from the consequences.
So maybe giving up a TV programme could be helpful if we used the time to enrich ourselves in other ways. This can take a number of forms: taking time to read the Bible and pray; deciding to spend time with neighbours or friends; perhaps joining one of our Lent Groups to build relationships and encourage faith to grow; choosing to care for someone perhaps with a phone call or writing a letter.
This year there are opportunities to join other churches in Wakefield for a service each Sunday evening during Lent. The times and places can be found on page 15 of this magazine, along with the details of our small groups. Let this Lent be a time for growth, as we ask the Holy Spirit to make us restless till we change, and prepare for the glorious celebration of Easter.
Rev Bill Henderson