Mothers’ Union Devotion Ash Wednesday – 17th February 2021
So today we will mark the beginning of Lent in a rather different way than usual. For a start there will be no ash crosses on our foreheads. Many of the usual devotional offerings that we have come to take for granted during Lent, will either not happen or will be organised in a different way. Giving up some things will be pointless because we have already had to do them as part of lockdown. Similarly, if you are a person who takes up something for Lent each year, it might be impossible to do that this year because you are shielding at home.
This enforced change, however, could also bring with it some good innovations because Lent traditions are not about the process, the details or the content of our disciplines. We undertake the things we do in Lent to build up our faith and bring us closer to God. It might be that as we find new and different ways to mark Lent, that these will allow us to draw closer to God this year.
One thing that has struck me over the past year is that we have effectively all become indoor members of Mothers’ Union. Opening all our eyes to just how separated people can become from church and community, when they can no longer move around freely. So, it is to our much valued more experienced members that we can turn, when we need guidance as how to keep a holy Lent during this extended period of lockdown.
Asking others how they manage to observe Lent may not be the most natural conversation for some of you. I think we are always a bit worried about comparisons, but if we can overcome our natural reticence we may benefit enormously. The power of what on the surface seems a simple suggestion as to how you can make a regular space in the day to talk to God can be immense. Different things work for different people, so the more suggestions we hear the better the chance of finding one that works for us. So, as we enter Lent why not begin a conversation with those you keep in contact with as to how they plan to observe Lent in this rather topsy-turvy year. Who knows it may change your life for the better?
Wishing you a holy and fruitful Lent
All my love and prayers