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.
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,
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
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
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
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.