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  • Writer's pictureMatt Woodcock

#2 Lent.

If I’m honest, this is my least favourite day in the Christian calendar.

Dreaded Ash Wednesday.

The first day of Lent.

The season of dogged self-denial, penitence and arduous preparation for Easter.

A time us Christians seek to replicate Jesus Christ’s temptation in the desert for 40 days.

Or to put it in less spiritual terms:

it’s nearly six weeks before I can indulge in a guilt-free glass of red.

Or enjoy a late-night Gold Bar.

That’s 960 hours, Fifty-Seven thousand, Six Hundred minutes and 3.4 million seconds.

Not that I’m counting.

If there was a Reverend’s report card, I reckon I’d be a D-minus when it comes to Lent.

A definite ‘could do better’.

I’m too easily distracted. Of limited willpower.

Vicar school wasn’t the greatest help.

It was awash with trainee Revs trying to out-penance each other.

A hothouse of dramatically pained expressions and pious boastings of the consecutive days we’d lived on lemon juice and fresh air.

Our lecture hall would echo to the sound of rumbling tummies and reeked of that most unfortunate fasting side effect - terrible breath.

Then there were those of us who talked a good Lent.

Made ambitious promises - but broke them within days.

Sometimes spectacularly.

That night after chapel prayers at The Swan and Three Cygnets was totally worth it, though.

Of course - religious or not - many people embrace the spirit of this season.

Take the opportunity to break a habit, make a sacrifice or take on a philanthropic challenge.

I might not be a Lent natural, but I will seek to grow my inner life these next 40 days.

To find space. Savour times of quiet - however fleeting.

And not lose sight of - in the frenzy of what I’m giving up and taking on - the essential message of Jesus’s journey to the Easter cross:

That of loving sacrifice.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s special Lent prayer will be a helpful prompter.

For me, it’s something to really aim for these next six weeks or so.

It’s simply this:

To ‘know I am deeply loved. And ‘To share this love with others.’

Above all else, I’m going to try to do that.

As for my next wine and Gold Bar?

Only about 3.2 million seconds to go...

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