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Artificial snowflakes

Dear Friends

This month sees the beginning of Lent – the period of 40 days (excluding the Sundays) leading up to Easter. 40 is a significant number in the Bible - in the book of Genesis, the flood which destroyed the earth was brought about by 40 days and nights of rain. The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness before reaching the promised land. Moses fasted for 40 days before receiving the ten commandments on Mount Sinai. Jesus spent 40 days praying and fasting in the wilderness in preparation for his ministry. 40 days can seem like a very long time – at the time of writing, many parts of the country, including many parts of St. Neots, are flooded, causing a lot of concern for homes and businesses, crops and animals, as well as disruption to major and minor travel routes. But imagine 40 days and nights of continual rain – well, we can’t really, can we? This much rain destroyed the whole earth…but God promised this would never happen again.

40 years in the wilderness – that is impossible for us to comprehend… so what about praying and fasting for 40 days, which is what we are told Jesus did, in preparation for his ministry.

Could we set ourselves a challenge for the 40 days of Lent? Some Christians do fast during Lent. They begin on Ash Wednesday and then give up eating meat, fish, eggs… and sometimes more, for the 40-day period.

Others choose to give up comforts or luxuries such as chocolate, junk food, social media or television.

For some of us, the prospect of giving up something can be daunting, so maybe we could think about taking something up instead - and forming a new habit.

Maybe our challenge, for the 40 days between Ash Wednesday (14th February) and Easter Sunday could be to set aside a time for prayer every day. Or maybe we could read a passage from the Bible every day. Or maybe we could spend some time every day reflecting on God’s love, counting our blessings, and appreciating all that we have.

For us, this year, could the period of Lent be a time when we make a more concerted effort to make time and space to pray, to read the Bible and to reflect on God’s love?

What better use could there be for the gift of time, than by using it to come close to God, for we know that when we seek Him, we will find Him.

‘Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.’

James 4:8

And maybe this will just be the start – of something new. Maybe, instead of feeling that 40 days is a very long time, we will find that 40 days is not enough, and we will choose to continue seeking and spending more time with God, for that is where we find comfort and peace.

With every blessing,

Jenny Gibbs

 

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