Three things to do for Lent

https://i2.wp.com/www.barnabasinschools.org.uk/photos/across/ash.jpgToday – as I write – is Ash Wednesday. Once again, with Christmas behind us, we turn towards Easter and turn again to Christ our crucified and risen Saviour. Many of us will go to church to receive his sign, the sign of the Cross, in ash our foreheads as a powerful symbol of that turning to him. And our journey into his new life, not just ordinary life shined up but life in all its fullness, begins again, and we pray that as the world around us wakens into spring, so we too will spring up in the power of God’s Spirit to be a generous and visible people fully alive in Jesus Christ our Lord.

“Keeping Lent” is an ancient part of our discipleship as Christians. There are no rules! But one way to have a balanced diet which I’ll be using, and which has more bite to it than giving up chocolate or alcohol (though I’ll be aiming at those as well), is to commit for Lent to taking up three things:
one to help you engage practically with the needs of others
– one to help you grow in thoughtfulness as disciples, and
– one to help you deepen your prayer life and spirit

Those three words (engage, deepen and grow), linked here with body, mind and spirit, are of course at the heart of our diocesan strategy, so this isn’t something in which we have to go it alone. I’ll try and remember to blog a bit about how I’m getting on, and perhaps you will find it helpful to share your journey with a few friends too.

Here is a short form of prayer that you might like to use together:

Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life, and life in all its fulness.”
We believe that we are called to be
generous and visible people of Jesus Christ, fully alive in Him,
discovering together his transforming presence
in our lives and in every community.

So in Jesus Christ we pray:
Inspire us to engage fully and courageously with the needs of our communities, locally and globally
Lord of our journey, Hear our prayer
Enable us to grow God’s church by finding disciples and nurturing leaders
Lord of our journey, Hear our prayer
Encourage us to deepen our commitment to God through word, worship and prayer.
Lord of our journey
Hear our prayer

We praise and thank you, God of the journey,
For all your gifts to us in the past.
We look to you as fellow-traveller and faithful companion on the way ahead.
Shelter and protect us from all harm and anxiety;
Give us grace to let go of all that holds us back;
And grant us courage to meet the new life you have promised us
In Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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