March letter from Revd. Barry SlatterFebruary 24, 2017
Ash Wednesday, marking the start of Lent falls this year on 1st March. Lent is a traditional season of abstinence and self denial but is there any point to this ? Why did God give us chocolate if he didn’t want us to enjoy it ? It is hard to deny that the giving up of chocolate does smack of tokenism, although I must confess that this is what I have done for very, very many years. So is there something more appropriate ? Would it be better to give up something which actually harms us, (some of you might think that chocolate falls into this category) ? How about giving up anxiety ? We live in a world where anxiety is what makes headlines. We are constantly reminded of all the bad thinks that lie in wait for us. The fact that miraculously we seem to have survived or avoid most of them does not stop us worrying about them. At the time of writing this letter we have had a relatively mild snow free winter, should I be relieved and enjoy it or should I be worried that winter is not yet over and we could still be snowed in.
Anxiety can rob us of the very joy of life itself. Jesus preaches that anxiety is very unproductive, “which of you by being anxious can add one hour to their span of life?” Jesus continues with anxiety about what we should wear and he points to the beauty of flowers which are here today and gone tomorrow .
In Jesus’ teaching it is anxiety that distracts us from what is essential and prevents us from living our lives confidently rejoicing and trusting in God’s love.
So have a peaceful Lent having given up anxiety !