Hollywood may have had its success with Eat Pray Love, but I reckon Lent got there first with its emphasis on Fast Pray Give! Today in rain, rather than snow, we began to prepare for Lent so that Ash Wednesday doesn’t take us by surprise. We all had a sheet to take away, with the following captions:
Fast – from my usual habits.
Ask God to inspire you to know what would be good to give up and/or to take up…
This Lent I will fast by….
Pray – more.
Consider what you might do differently / better this Lent. Where and when and how will you pray differently?
This Lent I will pray more by….
Give– whenever you can – of time, money, thoughtfulness…
Will your fasting mean unspent money?
Who / what will you donate it to?
Ask God to open your imagination and your eyes to see opportunities to give to others – family, friends, colleagues, strangers… Make it a personal challenge to out-do your usual efforts to be generous / to find at least one thing to do in service of others in each of the next 40 days!
This Lent I will aim to give….
Our time of worship focussed on the pretzel – something devised by monks reflecting the common prayer position from the early 600s of folding your arms over each other on your chest and putting your hands on your shoulders. Additionally, the three holes in a pretzel are said to represent the Holy Trinity.
We adopted this prayer position as we reflected upon what things needed to be addressed, rectified and forgiven over these next 40-or-so days. The pretzels became our bread in sharing bread and wine.
Liturgies we’ve used before framed our prayers – and despite the damp and cold, something special was shared – not least in blessing one another for the coming season, when, please God, we might all be moved on in our journey with Christ.