As March 2021 begins we are in the midst of the season of Lent. It’s the season when the church prepares to celebrate Easter. It represents something of a pilgrimage that leads through the days and weeks towards Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Traditionally many Christians have abstained from something over Lent as a way to focus on the season itself – perhaps by giving up chocolate or alcohol throughout Lent, perhaps by choosing one day a week to fast.
In recent years many Christians (and indeed many others) have taken on something extra, challenging themselves to undertake an act of kindness each day as part of the 40 Acts of Kindness initiative. For a number of years I have run an initiative called #40thoughts that tries to encourage people to reflect on different themes throughout lent.
As we approach Lent in 2021 I wonder how you feel about the idea of laying something down or taking something extra on? Given we are in the midst of a pandemic and lockdown haven’t we all given enough up? No longer able to visit family, no longer able to go to the thrash metal concert you’ve been waiting for, no longer able to meet a group of friends for a drink…
And haven’t we all had to take on so many other things? Becoming literate at the use of new technologies, getting used to face masks and restrictions, home-schooling….
How about this Lent we take the opportunity to be attentive? Attentive to the beauty of the world around us. Attentive to friends and neighbours in distress.
Perhaps the very act of being attentive is all the preparation we need as we journey towards Good Friday and beyond.
Films and Theology
Back in February a group of us met on a Saturday night via Zoom to discuss the Matrix film from 1999. It had been mentioned in a sermon a few weeks before and there was clearly an interest in having a discussion. With a new chapter of the Matrix due in 2021 the time was right to dig in!
And so a group of people gathered online to talk about the film, to explore any cultural, philosophical ideas as well as to reflect on any theological themes and connections.
I always find these kind of conversations fascinating and enriching. I love movies, visual art, poetry, music and I especially love the way the different mediums help us to engage with some of the bigger, more existential themes. Whether we like opera, jazz, renaissance paintings, silent movies from the early 20th century, beat poetry or K-Pop, the arts can speak to us in very powerful ways.
I wonder what do you love to do? Get stuck into an epic novel? Play piano? Binge-watch Netflix boxsets? Pogo around the kitchen to punk while you wash up?
What place does art and all that creative content play in your life?
If you’re not sure, why not take time to experience something you wouldn’t normally:- listen to some free jazz when you’d rather be watching Corrie. Watch Corrie when you’d rather be listening to free jazz? Why not take the lockdown opportunity to engage with the stuff you wouldn’t normally engage with? Maybe by doing so you might encounter something that moves you and helps you to get through these strange and difficult days.