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The Lenten Lessons we Learn...

Loo roll is highly desirable when there is none to buy.

Even the tins in the cupboard that were overlooked for years become possibilities for dinner.

Actually you really liked company even when you said you didn’t.

Who knew clapping could make you cry.

My guessing is that you could add to my list of things you’ve learned this Lent.

Lent is typically a time when we give something up in order to focus on Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem.

In depriving ourselves of something it is at that time that we realise what is important and how we had started to depend on something.

In years gone by I have fasted through Lent. A few days a week from sunrise to 6pm, only drinking and praying everytime I felt hungry or drawn to eat. It was only on those days did I realise how much I snacked, how much I thought about food and how much I ‘finished off or tidied up’ things in the kitchen. This Lent, although I haven’t fasted, has felt like that – I didn’t realise how much I shook hands, placed an encouraging hand on an arm or shoulder, or offered a hug of friendship. But this Lent has shown me how important that might be and how I should re-start that when this season has passed.

We see others learning life lessons too – those meetings that can now be phone calls or zoom calls, those arguments and frustrations that are too small to worry about on confront, the disliking of video-calling people becoming ok as a new way of connecting. Our air quality levels have improved, our appreciation for parks and gardens has increased, the value we place on teachers, lorry drivers, delivery services and shop workers has changed.

Rev. Stephen Cottrell (the next Archbishop of York) wrote this week – there is nothing good about this, but that doesn’t mean nothing good can come out of it – and that is the same for this season as it was for Holy week and Easter that we enter into now.

As the shouts of those around Jesus turn from Hosanna to crucify him, as the listening ears of those being taught become shut to the sacrifice of His life, so something amazingly awesome comes out of Jesus’ journey through death to His resurrection. The impending darkness of Good Friday becomes the brilliant light of the Easter Sunrise. Pastor Tony Campolo preached a message of ‘It’s Friday but Sunday’s coming’. We might be stuck in our Friday gloom whilst we are all isolated and distancing ourselves and unable to meet together, but our mourning will turn to morning when our resurrection time comes again to break out and greet each other with a holy hug.

I hope you are still looking forward to Easter. I hope you have a place at home to create an Easter reflection area – with leaves for palm Sunday, a bible for Jesus’ teachings, a towel to remind you of Him washing the feet of His friends, some bread for the last supper, a cross for obvious reasons and a candle to light to remind you of the brightness that comes when the risen Jesus is in our lives.

Raise a glass, eat some cake, dance around the kitchen for this season will soon past and our joy will then be complete:

Risen Christ, 

For whom no door is locked, no entrance barred:

Open the doors of our hearts, that we may seek the good of others

And walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace,

To the praise of God the Father.

+And the Blessing of God Almighty – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Be with you all and those whom you love and care for this Easter time and forever more.+