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.