Thursday, 10 March 2011
The green shoots of Lent
I do not like the idea of self imposed suffering, but I am glad we have Lent as a metaphor to express the deserts and wildernesses that we often experience. At the heart of the Christian faith is a focus on suffering, pain and anguish and this is powerful quite simply because suffering in all its forms is the greatest theological quandary. At the heart of Christianity there is a suffering God, one who experienced both intense anguish, but also the bleakness of the wilderness, hunger, loneliness and the temptation just to take an easier option.
Metaphors are all fine, but when it comes to the actual practicalities of Lent, I don’t approach it as a time of sackcloth and ashes. There is plenty of suffering in life without it being self imposed, I have learnt my lesson and I never give anything up and don’t spend a moment weeping with self loathing! I see Lent as a time for making room for God and an opportunity for growth. It also coincides with spring, and the idea of retreat to somewhere remote brings thoughts of peace and profound healing and, after so much turbulence, a still small voice of calm.