You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.
It is traditional during Lent to give up something, usually something simple which will not make a lot of difference if, as so often happens, the temptation becomes too great within the next few days. Often we think we will give up taking sugar in our tea or coffee or maybe we will give up snacking on chocolate biscuits at break time this year.
Now I have no wish to urge you to give up your break time; everyone needs a few minutes rest from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. What I am suggesting is that we give up snacking on our chocolate biscuits but use the time taken to choose one and to munch on it, to a good and less fattening purpose. How long does it take to choose and savour a biscuit? Let us use that time to focus on God, to reflect in silence on what Lent really means to us. Perhaps we could use one of the 3 minute Lent retreats available on the laptop or mobile phone. Or perhaps we could blow the dust of our Bible and read a passage from it. All four Gospels cover the events leading from the triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the horrific yet inevitable end. Let us use the time to reflect and to pray. Whatever method we use the result will be the same; a closer relationship with God, which is exactly what He wants and we need, plus a slimmer waistline.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years