Yesterday was what we call Ash Wednesday. It marks the beginning of Lent. From Ash Wednesday to Easter, excluding Sundays, is exactly 40 days.
It remembers the time when Jesus was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights before the start of his ministry. He prepared himself and got ready for his work.
In the same way we can think of Lent as a spring time of our own lives.
It can be like a spring clean of our own hearts and minds as we get ourselves right with God in preparation for the celebration of Easter in the days to come. Many spend time in prayer and reflection.
Lent can be a challenge to us just as it was to Jesus in the desert. It can be a time to gets things into perspective; to appreciate those things which are important and to value the worth of others around us.
Traditionally, some people give things up for Lent but perhaps it is better to take something on; to be positive rather than negative; to do something good for yourself and for the community around you.
During his 40 days and 40 nights in the desert, Jesus went through a series of tests or challenges. He was tempted just as we are yet without sin. So, this Lent can be a time of new growth, of healing, and of looking at our own lives. It’s a time of seeing how we could improve and of how we might show more love towards others.
No one is perfect but we can ask for Christ’s help, knowing that he went through the same trials and testing.
Canon Stephen Bradberry