Sorry my attempt at Lenton devotion went silent. Revtechnohubby hasn’t been well – better now than I have been for a while having been prayed for but the Church family last Sunday !
Revtechnohubby and Mrs RTH are in Manchester for the New Wine Leadership Conference and this morning we were walking through Manchester when I stopped by two homeless men. There are more homeless people than I have ever seen before in a city. It is heartbreaking. I stopped and gave each of them a full McDonalds complimentary coffee card (you know, the sort where you put the stickers to get your 7th coffee for free). A very clever 8 year old taught me that if you give someone that instead of a cup of coffee, they can sit in McDonalds in the warm for half an hour whilst they drink their coffee!!!
They were unbelievably grateful and treated my gift as if it were a luxury!
What’s your luxury? Chocolate, Wine, A Spa Day, your nails done, netflix, sky sports?
The real luxury I saw today was this!
One of the young men was sitting on a pallet in his sleeping bag to keep away from the cold floor. Luxury!
Only last week there was a report that a charity which had been working with girls in sub-saharan Africa to provide Sanitary products had started working with girls in a school.
But the school wasn’t in South East Asia, or Africa, or South America. It was in Leeds!
In 2017 wooden pallets and sanitary towels are luxury items.
What have we come to?
Father Forgive us, even though we know what we are doing!
So, I’ve deceided what to give up for lent (hopefully by then end of Lent I will have successfuly given up chocolate and sweets, fizzy drinks and about a stone!!!)
But then last night I was wndering what to take up – do I go and get one of the Lent books from my shelf and repeat them (hopefully with more success than previous years) or do I take up something else.
And then an image swam into my mind and I realised what my lenten “taking up” would be.
A picture a day – so here goes!
This picture was taken in 2015 at an Ash Wendesday service near Staithes in North Yorkshire. We were away for half term aand I went to the Ash Wednesday service. We were each given, on arrival, a palm cross, and half way through the service we went outside and placed our crosses into the metal bucket, where they were burned to create the ashes used to mark each person’s forehead with a cross – an ancient Christian sumbol of repentance and submission to God on Ash Wednesday.
I had never seen the burning of the crosses to make the ash as part of the service before, depsite having done it myself outside the service for many years. I found it incredibly moving, and it reminded me of the end of the Lent, when many churches go outside and light a fire from which they light the new Easter (Paschal – pask-al) candles.
Lent began and ended in 2015 with light not darkness.
So it should be – repentance and submission are not events to be marked by darkness, but light. Sin loves darkness, repentance is all about light!
So this year Lent for me starts with light, not darkness. The light of Jesus, bringing me back.