Lent begins today

It’s Ash Wednesday and Lent has begun. 40 weekdays and 6 Sundays to get in shape for Easter. Outward signs are off limits except for ashes on your forehead in church today, so no new moustaches please. But a Dry February/March will be in store for many. In truth, though, the precise way you keep Lent doesn’t matter much – new traditions can be as good as old ones – but picking some way and sticking to it of interrupting our death-by-consumption lifestyle and living and loving a little more keenly can’t be bad. My prayers are with you as start your Lenten journey as those of others will be with me. And remember our #sunrise prayer for Iraq and the troubled areas of the world as well.

Blessed are you, God of compassion and mercy,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In the darkness of our sin,
your light breaks forth like the dawn
and your healing springs up for deliverance.
As we rejoice in the gift of your saving help,
sustain us with your bountiful Spirit
and open our lips to sing your praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.