|Gratuitous photo of Courtney Lawes|
No; recently I have been thinking about Lent, what it means to me, and how I should be responding.
In quite a few previous years like many other Christians I have fasted by denying myself something I want to consume, often I have selected alcohol as the item to be given up. It would be pointless to give up chocolate, or biscuits as this would be too easy, I like biscuits and chocolate, but to not have them for a few weeks would not be difficult, it would not represent any form of self denial, and therefore it would not be a sacrifice. For me the point of the Lenten fast is to deepen the understanding of sacrifice, and through that to build up to the great sacrifice of Good Friday, and then the victory of Easter Sunday. To me this means that any fast needs to be significant ~ it also needs to be achievable!
I add the last bit because quite frankly I'm not sure that I will be able to deny myself any alcohol for all of this coming Lent. It is Ash Wednesday this week, the beginning of Lent, and during this period I have five concerts, four Pride events, one support group meeting and of course the rest of the Six Nations! Quite frankly I'm not sure I can do it ~ maybe I should be looking to something I could manage without but that would still be a sacrifice. Lying in bed this morning I was considering giving up meat for Lent. I'm quite sure that my daughter would approve of this, I'm also quite sure that I could do it, and that it would represent some serious self denial.
Last year I ended up not making a Lenten fast, and I do know that it made Easter feel a lot less significant, I know that it made this period of the year no different to any other. As an incidental I also noticed that my seasonal weight loss came a lot later in the year!
Maybe I should be thinking about adopted self control as a permanent live style choice; maybe I should follow the advise of Alan Franks, the Vicar of Ambridge and give up complaining.
What I do know is that I need to join a Church, I can't carry on visiting a variety of local churches, I need to make some sort of commitment; and that, for now, will be my Lenten project, find the Church that I am meant to be part of, and get back into the habit of regular Sunday attendance.