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'Maureen's Musings'

March 2012

This year, March falls squarely into the Church season of Lent - which means there will be Lent meals to celebrate together and our Lent Course to study together - I commend both to you and I am sure you will find details of both elsewhere in this magazine....

"Over the years it may be that Lent has lost some of its radical edge. For most people now it is a residual custom involving the brief giving up of chocolate or alcohol. It was intended to be much more. Historically, Lent was a time for strengthening and preparation: a time when fasting strengthened flagging will-power (not the other way around!); when prayer and meditation prepared for Easter when baptismal vows were renewed. (And this year we will have the chance to do that as we celebrate with the Fotherby family the baptism of little Kaia on Easter Day). It was based on Christ's forty days in the wilderness. Just as Jesus knew how vital was that strengthening and preparation for what was to come, so it seems did his early followers. In those tough times, they understood, rather more than many of us, what a radical and crucial calling they had to fulfil.

There is a risk today that many Christians will feel they have lost their voice. So persuasive and eloquent are the voices raised against faith in the public sphere - and often so subtly dismissive - that we may feel we no longer believe we have a right to be heard. So private might our religion become that propriety prevents us either revealing our pain, or offering encouragement. So flabby are our wills and so strong are our fears that we have lost the sense of who we could become and what together we might accomplish.

That is why Lent remains important, and why Lent courses, entered into with honesty and commitment, can be vital staging posts in the journey towards fulfilling spiritual potential."

Much of what you have just read is a quote from the introduction to a book I have been looking at recently .... It is a Lent course book that we might well look at another year (it is not the subject of this year's course - which is nevertheless interesting and challenging - give it a go!) But the words seemed so fitting at a time when the forces of secularisation are becoming so strident in the media. I do think it high time that Christians stopped being so diffident and apologetic about admitting to their faith in public - not to 'ram it down the throat' of anyone else, but just to calmly and definitely assert that faith matters. 'God is cool' as our young people might put it. Faith determines how we live our lives. It is the basis of so many of the institutions of our Society. So this Lent I hope you can "Find your voice" - and feel strengthened for the challenges and battles that lie before us; and above all will feel confident in your faith - both in private and in public.

Have a Blessed Lent

Maureen