For Christians the forty days of Lent are an opportunity to reflect
upon their journey of faith. Lent recalls the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness, praying and reflecting on his ministry. The forty days allow us to reflect on our discipleship, and to prepare ourselves for the events of Easter Week which culminate in the glorious resurrection of Jesus.
Tradition tells us that Lent can also be a time of fasting. Is that what Lent should mean to us? Fasting is certainly part of the Lenten experience; we are told that Jesus fasted in the wilderness. However, we may ask ourselves whether just denying ourselves food is really meaningful. Would it be more appropriate if for example we were to donate that which we have given up, or even more, to a local food bank?
Or maybe we should we engage in acts of kindness for the communities we live in. Some of us may remember Archbishop Sentamu, when he was Bishop of Birmingham, encouraging us during Lent to carry out practical acts of kindness for the community. Litter picking in Sutton Park was one we may remember.
Whatever we do during Lent, whether it is fasting or acts of kindness, let’s always remember the essential nature of Christianity that Saint Paul wrote about in his First Letter to the Corinthians; faith, hope and love. In Lent we have an opportunity to remember the faith we have in Jesus, the hope we have of eternal life, and the love that we bear one another and all humanity.