Message Raughton Head Parish Magazine Rose Castle
Ash Wednesday falls on the 6th March this year, and it marks the beginning of the season of Lent. The English word ‘Lent’ is a shortened form of the old English word ‘len(c)ten’ meaning ‘spring season’. For most people, Lent is seen as the time when we give something up for a period of time, giving impetus to the desire to slim or to give up smoking etc. However, simply giving something up – even if doing so has good health implications – isn’t what Lent is all about.
Lent is said to last for 40 days – from Ash Wednesday to Easter Eve, not including the 6 Sundays – to commemorate the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness before starting his earthly ministry. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the Christian believer for Easter. We pass through the 40 days of repentance and the tragic story of Holy Week in order to arrive at the gloriously triumphant Easter Day celebrations.
Traditionally, there are 3 activities through which this preparation is achieved, the first of which is prayer – coming closer to God through speaking and listening to him. The second is fasting, which probably gave rise to the idea of giving something up at Lent. The point of fasting is to be able to spend more time in prayer, and to rely on God rather than food to sustain us. The third activity is almsgiving – what today would mainly involve giving money to charities. That’s not to say that these activities be reserved for the Lenten season, but that they should be emphasised more during Lent.

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Many Christians these days look to take up some Lenten spiritual discipline such as reading a daily devotional to draw themselves nearer to God. Here in the benefice, we will be doing several things. As has become the custom over the years, we will be providing a simple soup meal in Church House Dalston on each Friday, with the money raised going to support our link diocese in Northern Argentina through the Church Mission Society.
We will also be joining with others within our Mission Community area for a Lent Course on Wednesday evenings, 7:30 pm at Thurstonfield Methodist Chapel and on Thursday lunchtimes, 12 noon at Dalston Methodist Chapel (the Dalston course including a light lunch). The course is entitled ‘Faithful Church, Faithful People’ and will include sessions on Welcome, Worship, Worth, Witness and Wealth. Do come and join us on this journey.
May this Lenten season be a meaningful one for you that will make your Easter joy even greater!
Steve Carter – 01228 710215