Sunday 7 February 2016

The real meaning of Lent (and it isn't giving up chocolate)

Wednesday 10 February is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, when we begin the time of preparation for Easter.  On Ash Wednesday we will celebrate Holy Communion at St Andrew's Potterhanworth at 7.30 pm, with the ancient ceremony of 'ashing'.  Each worshipper is marked on the forehead with a cross drawn in ash, which is made from the palm crosses blessed at the previous year's Palm Sunday service.  The 'ashing' is accompanied by the words 'Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.'  The intention is to remind the worshipper to repent of their sins before it is too late.

Nowadays Lent has become a largely misunderstood time, when people give up something (usually chocolate or alcohol) as a reminder of the traditional Lenten fast and a means of self discipline.  This has about as much to do with Lent as novelty Easter eggs have to do with the resurrection!  Instead of (or as well as!) giving up the booze for a few weeks, why not try making a positive difference in your life?  To use the other form of words for 'ashing', 'Repent and believe in the Gospel.'

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