Today in the life of the church is Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday begins the 40 days of Lent. Lent is seen by many as a time to give things up so freeing our bodies and minds to think about our faith and our belief in Jesus who gave up his life.
Lent is also a time to reflect, pray and study so enriching our faith. This year the Cathedral’s Lent course is a joint venture with the Diocese. Set within the context of the Diocesan Rule of Life we are being asked to take up a Rule of Life Challenge. The first challenge takes place in Lent and people are being encouraged to follow the Church of England’s #LiveLent theme for 2022, Embracing Justice.
Based around the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book, written by Isabelle Hamley, the theme remembers the cry of the Prophet Isaiah: ‘Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice?’ calling us to reflect on the injustices of the world and ask what God is calling us to do about them.
The theme of embracing justice has become even more of a challenge in the past week as we look at the injustices of war and how innocent people get caught up in such aggressive behaviour that causes so much hurt, injustice and death. When you look at the news and see the thousands of displaced people, refugees, crossing many boarders seeking peace and solace it makes you realise how fortunate we are here in Britain. I cannot imagine what it is like for the many Ukrainian people who have had to leave their homes, their jobs, their family and their security to face an uncertain future in a foreign land.
As I watch the news I am challenged by the aggressive power of the Russian Government that seeks to destroy people and places for political reasons. I am challenged by the many thousands of arrests that have been made because Russian people have openly opposed and protested against their own Government for invading Ukraine. I am challenged by power that seeks to destroy others for the sake of gaining land and political authority over a nation. All these challenges lead me to ask where is the love of God in this situation? Where is God as people walk miles to cross boarders? Where is God in the death and destruction? Where is God’s justice?
I will spend Lent this year reflecting on these questions and Lent this year will be as poignant as it was when we faced the pandemic. It will be a time of prayer for peace and for the justice and the mercy of God to be seen through the cross and in the life and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus showed us how to live, so this Lent why not spend time in quiet contemplation and why not join us on the Embracing Justice Lent course?