Friday, March 03, 2006

Love Life Love Lent

Last night at housegroup we talked about this Lent programme, which was started in the Diocese of Birmingham and is apparently growing increasingly popular. The idea is that rather than just giving up chocolate for 40 days, and then eating lots of chocolate, giving onlookers the idea that for Christians Easter is all to do with chocolate, we actually take on some generous, practical habits as part of the Lent season. I think it looks like a brilliant idea. There are 50 actions altogether, falling into 6 different catagories - Personal, Friends, Neighbours, Church, Community, World. The actions are really simple and fun. Examples from the 1st week are - Have a meat free day, write to someone and thank them, spend some time in silence, give up your place to someone who is in a rush eg. traffic or shop queue. There have been more than 50,000 booklets distributed so far; could make quite an impact. Read more about it here or download the booklet (pdf).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ash Wednesday

Well it's day 1 of Lent. So far the alcohol free thing is going great. I haven't touched a single drop all day :). 40 days does seem like a long time though, although I have to remember that Sundays are feast days that don't count in the 40 days. (Something I didn't realise last year). So maybe my wine intake with Sunday dinner will increase:)

The thirst for life thing has made me think about how many peoples lives are destroyed by alcohol and other addictions. I can only think, 'there but for the grace of God go I.' If I didn't have such a comfortable life, if I was on the streets for example, maybe I would depend on alcohol rather than 'enjoy it responsibly.'
Last night I met a homeless man who had just fallen off the wagon after 18 months. He was understandably gutted. He asked me to pray with him, which I was glad to do, and then went on to pray one of the most penitent, beautiful prayers I have ever heard. I believe he meant it.

I'm not too sure what Ash Wednesday is all about. I know that Holy Trinity are doing their traditional Ash Wednesday service, where your forehead can be marked with a cross in ash and olive oil. I think it's a penitence thing. I must be very penitent, as I spend most days up to my eyeballs in ash. Unfortunately I will not be fasting today, as I have some pancake eating to catch up on, which I will be doing at mum and dad's tonight. I'd be such a rubbish Roman Catholic.

Sven has an excellent post on Jesus and Guantanamo Bay, which he has also done as a podcast.