We’re into the season of Lent and around the circuit this last week our people met on Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of this holiest of seasons in the Christian calendar. Lent is understandably a solemn time as we accompany Jesus on a 40 day journey to the cross, reflecting on the all that his sacrifice means.
So it was a little unusual in our household to start Ash Wednesday with birthday cake (I turned 21 this last week) and also my first experience of having Happy Birthday sung in an Ash Wednesday service that evening in Darnall!
To add to all this unseasonal festivity, we had two screenings of the movie Chocolat during this week in preparation for our Lent course with begins next Wednesday. Throughout the movie (which is set in Lent), there is a tension between the rigid legalism and judgmentalism of the village churchgoers and the welcoming hospitality and joyful celebration of the people of the Chocolaterie.
It seems that the church community in the movie have missed what Jesus was getting at in Matthew 6 when he encourages the practice of what have become traditional Lenten disciplines (prayer, giving, fasting) but insists that they are really about heart attitude, not just external legalism. On the other hand, the approach of the chocolaterie community (which gets so much right) can’t be unquestioningly accepted either. The movie certainly gets you thinking and I hope many of you will join us for the course as we use clips from the movie and passages from the gospels to take us on a journey of growth and discovery this Lent
It’s also been great to see how many people have ordered Trevor Hudson’s Lenten devotional. Whether you are using this book or not, I hope that we will have a real sense as a community of being together this Lent as we give ourselves to listening prayer, reflective reading and joyful worship. And, it seems, there may even be room for chocolate this year!
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