I wonder how your Lent has gone? I have found this Lent particularly poignant as, at the beginning of this year, I found myself in the midst of an extremely challenging time personally. This necessitated withdrawing from parish duties for two months and so, upon my return just before Ash Wednesday, I began Lent in a very reflective state of mind. However, I discovered that my personal situation actually helped me to enter into Lent more fully and with a greater sense of the suffering of Christ than usual.
I have been more sensitive to the beauty and fragility of life and of our natural world. The two days in February when we had unseasonably good weather were enjoyed all the more, with a heightened awareness of everything around me. The spring flowers, which emerged early because of this little burst of sunshine and warmth, seemed all the more precious and beautiful this year.
At the same time, the cruelty of the world seemed harsher. Suffering, loss, emptiness, all seemed to be spread before me in a way which was hard to bear. And yet, in the brutality of the world and of human existence, I rediscovered a sense of balance. For all the negative experiences we undergo, there are truly wonderful things happening too – and the extraordinary thing is that, deep in the midst of suffering, there is compassion, beauty and truth, and the love of God fully known, reflected in his people.
And so this Lent has been, for me, a real time of reflection, penitence, realisation and understanding. As we approach Easter, the sheer joy of Mary and the disciples discovering that Jesus, their beloved master and friend, had been resurrected and returned to them, is ours to contemplate and celebrate. What a wonderful, and wonderfully comforting, thing it is to know that this life is not all there is. We are all offered eternal life, by God, through his Son, Jesus Christ. And in the meantime, we have one another to add to God’s blessings. As the hymn tells us, ‘Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father….…blessings all mine with ten thousand beside’.
I wish you all a very happy Easter.
With every blessing,