Lent Has Not Been Cancelled

Almost the only topic of conversation online or off seems to be COVID-19 and its implications. Every day we hear of more restrictions being imposed, more curtailments of what we like to think of as ‘normal life’. Amid so much gloom, it is easy to forget that we are in Lent and that Lent is the springtime of the soul, preparing us for the most important event of all time: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Latterly, I think the sunshine here in England has helped lift our mood. Flowers have graced our gardens and window boxes, while the hushing of roads and streets means we can hear the birdsong often drowned out by the noise of cars and lorries. But what has been going on interiorly? Has the Lenten springtime really touched our souls?

Many clergy and communities have rushed to put their services online or to offer reflections designed to encourage their congregations in a time of stress and anxiety. Individuals have been generous in offering practical help and moral support to those in need. But what of the inner journey each of us is called to make during Lent, the journey from death to life? Today would be a good day to pause for a moment and consider where we are. How have prayer, fasting and almsgiving characterised our Lent so far? Do we need to reassess what we are doing or not doing in the light of our present circumstances? One of the great temptations of Lent, as of the Christian life in general, is what we in the monastery call Elijah Sickness. Just as Elijah was tempted to sit down under a tree and give up, so are we. We begin well, then we become distracted, bored or weary. Let’s remember that the Lord’s mercies never cease, they are new every morning (Lamentations 3.22–23). We still have some way to go till Easter, but He will be with us every step of the way. Be encouraged!

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10 thoughts on “Lent Has Not Been Cancelled”

  1. Oh so timely, thank you again. The beginning of a very long period of an upended life, and sense of being unable to help others while isolated at home, is a spur to prayer and reflection. Email and phone calls given and received. But the need for spiritual sustenance is strong. Not all villages have clergy offering this.

  2. Thank you so much. I have been so busy with the changes that the virus has caused in my life that Lent taken a back seat. Time to get back to the season of Lent.

  3. Thank you for this timely message. It seems that this Lenten season is becoming the most meaningful one for me. Though recently moving from a church tradition that largely didn’t practice the church calendar, I did practice Lent–as I understood it–for the past several years. This year was to be my first experience of a Lenten season shared in gatherings with others. Circumstances change, of course. Part of me has been sad, but another part of me is grateful because He’s showing me how much I need my brothers and sisters. I hope at the close of Lent this year, that the changes He’s making in my heart, soul, mind … will remain and not fade away. May He be glorified in His people, in the world. May many turn to Him during these hard times. Easter is coming!

    • Lent does not always have an immediate effect on our lives but this one is giving most of us an opportunity to pray and reflect at a depth we may not have done in previous years. May you be blessed!

  4. I am finding the present situation helps me to keep in the Lenten spirit. There is so much opportunity for silence, stillness, prayer, reading, and, paradoxically reaching out to others. The fasting takes care of itself!

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