I often find that Lent is a time for reflecting and taking stock. As we prepare ourselves for the resurrection of Christ, it is a natural precursor to the new beginnings of Spring. It is a time when we journey through a period of abstinence, seeking to avoid the temptations of all that may take us away from God, as Christ did for forty days in the desert. We hold a mirror up to our faith and try to go deeper in our relationship with Christ. At this time in the Diocese, many may feel they are in a desert time. A time when, like the Israelites who walked through the desert, people may feel confused, or a sense of feeling lost, a time that really tests faith. The call of Lent is to dig deep into what we know of God and to try to hold onto the pain of the cross in order to find the resurrection. To know that suffering and loss are part of the human experience, but to know that this is not the end of the story. It is often in the desert accounts in the bible that transformation takes place. As a collective body, we need prayer and healing and we need to know Christ more as we journey this Lent.
The Synod has moved on in the Continental stage with England and Wales meeting the European Synod groups last month. The results of all of the documents shared at these meetings can be found here. The repeated message at each stage of the proceedings is that while we look to 2024 for the results of this synod, Pope Francis’ calling is that synodality becomes part of the life of every local Church. The Diocesan synod core group are looking at how to develop this sense of the Diocese as a listening Church and will be sharing ideas on this as we go forward.
Walking through Lent as a group
The Diocesan Lenten resources provide a variety of rich perspectives and styles of writing and make a great use of the gifts of our people. These are often used for personal reflection, but it may be that you want to reflect on these as a parish prayer group.
Alternatively you may wish to use something that is designed with group reflection in mind. Please visit our Lent 2023 page for some prayer and resource suggestions.
Amy Cameron, Coordinator for the Vicariate for Faith & Mission.