Saturday, 5 March 2011
Lent is just round the corner - and don't I know it!
Not because I'm anxious about what I might give up - though it was interesting to read in the paper this morning that the most senior Roman Catholic in England has suggested that Catholics should abstain from eating meat on Friday's in Lent.
Actually this is something that has a long tradition in the Christian church, we always ate fish on Friday's when I was growing up, but his motivation seemed to be a fascinating mix between bringing back the emphasis on abstinence and coupling that with the benefit to the environment. Well - the piece I read portrayed it like that.
The reason I know that Lent is close is that for the last 5 years I've been writing or helping to write or editing a Lent booklet for my London church. We have prepared our own course for the last 5 years and its been an incredible journey for me. Initially - for the first two years - the booklets were entirely my own work, the first was on Brokenness and the second on Healing. Then my friend Simon and I did a series on St Paul.
Last year was different though - we opened it up to the whole church to write a piece about their favourite Bible verse. Reading those offerings was a wonderful mix of inspiring and humbling.
This year we've got a "gang of four" together to write about the seven "I am's" from St John's gospel. However, that wasn't my only project! I also decided to put together a booklet for my new parish in Norwich - two booklets in one year! Phew! We copied the idea from last year and asked folk to write about their favourite bit of the Bible. It really makes a community grow in depth of knowledge and understanding - of each other!
Fitting all that in with the day job was a challenge!
As for Lent - I'm seriously thinking about giving up wine! That would be a real act of personal sacrifice... and possibly a bigger challenge!