This year February has quite a few memorable events. The most obvious being that it is a leap year making it a twenty-nine-day month. This will be especially helpful to all those people who have a birthday on that day. I particularly like leap years as you avoid the mistake of putting February dates in your diary in March. Normally, if you get the wrong month the date and day do not match up and you see your mistake immediately. It is not much fun being a month early or a month late for an appointment! There is also the end of the Christmas Season on the 2nd of February.
This year Lent starts on Wednesday 14th February. It makes for interesting choices as it coincides with Valentine’s Day on 14th February. I am pretty sure which one will be more observed than the other! Easter is quite early this year being on the last day of March. The origin of Lent was in baptismal preparation, which happened at Easter. This preparation for Easter was seen to have great benefits for the baptismal candidates. The Church broadened the scope to include the whole congregation in these preparations. Lent is viewed as a time for self-examination and repentance by prayer, fasting, and self-denial, and by reading and meditating on God’s word. Lent should be equally positive in terms of taking up a challenge, like trying to make someone smile each day, with an act of kindness. It is time to realign our lives with what God wants us to do with our lives. There is a sense of refocusing on what is important and getting rid of life’s distractions. I find without a conscious effort, things around me drift away from where they should be. Lent is a time for gathering up the important elements and looking around to see how we can make a difference to those around us. It is easy to become self-absorbed in what we are doing and miss what is around us. Lent gives us the time to pick our heads up and see what needs doing and to look to see what God is trying to do.
We are running a Lent Course ‘Come and See’. Come and See is used several times in the bible as an invitation. An invitation is a powerful thing. It can be the start of a transformative journey, the beginning of a long-lasting friendship, or maybe the opening of a door that leads to new adventures. The phrase ‘Come and See’ can be seen repeatedly in scripture, especially in the Gospels. Each occasion can remind us that the fullness of life, and our salvation, start with an invitation to follow Jesus. Why not give the Lent course a chance?