Well, it’s nearly Lent, which means pancakes (at the start at least) and it also means Love.
Lent can also act rather like a spiritual MOT for some. As I write it’s early January, and driving around the villages I notice many more runners about, maybe taking the opportunity of the New Year to start a new habit. Perhaps some of us have given ourselves a physical MOT, recognizing that it’s time to get fit, or to make a new start with those good habits that have fallen by the wayside.
In the Church calendar, Shrove Tuesday is always followed by Ash Wednesday, heralding the start of Lent. This year Ash Wednesday also falls on Valentine’s Day. To me this is perfect. The observance of Ash Wednesday for Christians is a time for saying sorry and for self-examination (perhaps that’s where the MOT comes in). It is fitting that love will be celebrated that day too as for Christians, Ash Wednesday and indeed the whole of Lent take us back to the very heart of God and the love shown through Jesus’ ministry and his dying on the cross for all of creation, for you, for me, culminating in the celebration of Easter and Christ’s resurrection. So as I say, Lent is about love.
For Christmas I asked for two things: the film Educating Rita on DVD and a CD full of my favourite tunes for listening to in the car. As I drive about and listen, one of those tunes – nestled between Dolly Parton, Florence and the Machine and Stormzy – is the Black Eyed Peas singing “Where is the Love?” When I despair at the cruel conflicts around the world, and the words and actions of some of our world leaders and the poverty in our midst and beyond, I do ask, where is the love? Cheesy as it may sound, as I pray for things to change, I must look at myself first and ask the same question – is my heart ready to love? Lent is the perfect opportunity to reflect again for ourselves on that question. Do check out the Church of England #❤Heartready social media campaign and find out ways in which you can be heart-ready for Lent this year.
So enjoy the pancakes, and I pray that as Valentine’s Day unites with Ash Wednesday, may you be heart-ready and find love at the very heart of Lent.
Much love Becca