I’m writing this on a February afternoon, as the rain begins to fall and the wind seems to be picking up speed. The last week has brought the wild weather of Storm Ciara, an unexpected snowfall and now Storm Dennis is almost here. Yet, when I look outside I can see snowdrops, hellebores, crocuses, irises and primroses. All these remind me that spring, my favourite time of year, is just around the corner.
Of course, Lent is almost upon us – perhaps not everyone’s favourite time of year! As Becky reminded us last month, our focus this Lent will be on God’s creation and our care for our planet. Lent is traditionally a time of denial, as we remember Jesus withdrawing into the desert for a time of reflection, and we look ahead to his suffering and death on the cross. But Lent also gives us the opportunity to rejoice in the wonderful world God has created, and to consider the positive ways we can engage in the work of protecting and renewing our environment. Each week there will be an opportunity to join together, either at lunchtime or in the evening, for a light meal followed by a service of reflection focussing on our Lenten theme.
When we consider the wonders of God’s creation, we remember that, as humans, we are made in God’s image. God calls us to care for and to honour his creation; he calls us also to care for and honour our brothers and sisters. God values his creation – and that includes each one of us, at whatever stage of life we may be. I draw great comfort from God’s promise:
“Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you” Isaiah 46:4
At our Benefice Service, 10.30 am on Sunday 29th March, at St Mary’s Church, Hales, Sarah Thorpe will be speaking on the theme of “Dementia Friendly Church”. The word, “dementia” may fill us with trepidation, but there are so many positive things we can do to engage with those who live with dementia and those who care for them. There may be simple, practical things we can do to make our church environment a safe and welcoming space where all can be enabled to worship God and become more aware of his great love for us all.
This Lent, may we be inspired to pray, to listen, to respond and to engage with God’s call to value and protect all of His creation.