Lent is a time for reassessing our priorities, a time to seek to see things from a more godly perspective. Traditionally Christians have attempted this through giving something up. ‘What are you giving up for Lent?’ we are sometimes asked.
This year the Archbishop of Canterbury is encouraging us to start something as well. He suggests, for example, spending time each day praying for someone or some situation in our broken world, or finding some small act of kindness each day, even the smallest thing like making time to chat with someone who is having a bad time.
He says that the surprising thing about this process of starting rather than giving up is that it can have the same effect: we begin to see where our hearts and minds need changing, we start to understand where we have become selfish or uncaring or indifferent, we find ourselves turning towards the fuller, more loving, more hope-filled life that Jesus longs for each of us to live.
I echo the Archbishop’s encouragement and, as a suggestion of what a small act of kindness might be, I commend this year’s Bishop’s Lent Appeal for our brothers and sisters in Peru. It’s so easy to take for granted all the blessings we enjoy in this country. Giving a little to those with whom we are joined in faith through our link, for whom life is so hard, might help to make us more thankful – and therefore happier as well as more loving.
May God bless you this Lent.
The Bishop of Worcester
Rt Revd Dr John Inge