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We are about to enter Lent, a time when many traditionally give up things: chocolate, is perhaps the favourite, or maybe coffee, sweets, or social media.  Perhaps you are planning something similar.  But why do we do these things each year?  

 

I wonder if society really understands the reasons behind Lent?  Or has it just become another of those things to do, like opening Advent calendars or the increasingly popular Veganuary, Fizz Free February etc.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with these, and many are very good for our health and wellbeing, but what is the point of denying ourselves the things we enjoy, other than delighting in telling others how we are suffering through our self-denial?

 

Christian organisation “Stewardship” 40 acts (https://40acts.org.uk/) is a daily programme that challenges us “to do Lent generously”, aiming to foster an attitude of generosity, rather than self-denial.  40 acts provides resources for individuals, families, churches, home groups and schools, sending a daily “Bible-based reflection on a particular aspect of generosity twinned with a practical challenge to benefit others”.  40 acts encourages churches to reach out with the gospel, as well as encouraging individual generosity with acts like paying someone a compliment, letting someone else have the TV remote (!), leaving encouraging notes in unexpected places and many more.  They are often fun, but they always bless others and generously share God’s love in practical ways, reflecting the generosity God has shown in Jesus.

 

Perhaps we use Lent as a time for increased Bible study and prayer and for deepening our relationship with God.  But how does this benefit the growth of God’s Kingdom?  Whilst it is a reflection of the time Jesus’ spent in the desert preparing for his ministry years, we should remember that this was for the purpose of being equipped to go into communities bringing in God’s Kingdom through action, story and relationship.  Doesn’t it therefore follow that we should do likewise?

 

During Lent it is admirable to set aside additional time to nurture our relationship with God, but as James says, “as the body without the spirit is dead, also faith without actions is dead” (James 2:26), so we must apply what we learn and put our faith into action so that others will come to know and experience the abundant life that Jesus offers.

 

During this period of Lent, I intend to challenge myself to firstly spend more time in “being” with God, learning from and listening to Him and then to “doing” as He directs, offering myself as the “living sacrifice” that Paul speaks of in his letter to the

 

Romans (12:1).  If that includes some self-denial in order to be more generous, I hope and pray I will have the discipline to act accordingly.  And, yes, I may well use 40acts as my inspiration and challenge, but most of all I hope that I will follow the direction of the Holy Spirit.  

 

What do you plan to do through Lent?  Will you share generously, will you be bold to act out what God says during this time?  If we put our small individual acts of generosity together, we can make a big difference to our church, our community, our friends and our family.  As Mother Teresa said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”  

Wishing you many blessings during this Lenten Season    

              

Julie



RECENT UPDATESCOFFEE MORNINGS AROUND THE CIRCUIT

Marlborough Road, every Thursday (10am to 11.30am)


Hinton on the first Saturday of the month (10am to 11.30am)


Hornton weekly on a Friday (10.30am to 12 noon)


Cropredy have a coffee bring and buy every 2nd Friday


Easington on alternate Wednesdays (local blue bin day), starting at 10.00am


Grimsbury on the last Saturday of the month  (10.30am-12 noon)


CIRCUIT RESOURCE

List of books in the Circuit Library, kept in the Marlborough Road foyer.