Lent continues to go by and now we have entered into those final two
weeks of Lent known as Passiontide.
How has your Lent gone so far? Have you managed to abstain from the
thing or things you have given up for this penitential season? Chocolate
biscuits or alcohol maybe. Have you managed to set aside time for extra
payer and devotion? Or perhaps you decided to look more deeply at the
bible or engage in a Lenten reading guide? Or maybe, you didn’t
come to any decision as to what you might do at all in Lent? And it’s
just stayed like that. You might on the other hand have had all the
best intentions in the world to keep a holy and disciplined Lent, only
to fall at the first hurdle!
How disappointing we can be. I know I’m constantly disappointed
with myself! If we’re disappointed with ourselves, we are at least
in good company. St Paul says, in his letter to the church in Rome.
‘I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not
do, but what I hate I do.’
Paul at this stage would be of a high spiritual state and yet he still
realises the struggle of being ordinary and human, because he is ordinary
and human. Paul is saying that moral aspiration and performance, putting
it into practice, don’t always go hand in hand. I think an ancient
Roman poet wrote.
‘I perceive what is better and approve of it, but I pursue what
It’s not easy being a human being. On the one hand we are made
in the image of God and possess some great qualities, because we reflect
something of God’s nature; but on the other hand we can be quite
opposite to God, in the way we live our lives. In the way we do and
don’t do things.
But, we have to keep on trying. We can’t do it all on our own,
God knows that and through his Son Jesus, God has the experience of
knowing what it’s like to be human.
Whatever we do or try and do for Lent, shouldn’t just be something
we forget when Lent is over and we have moved on to celebrating the
resurrection of Jesus. It should be a pointer to how we might live the
rest of our lives. Yes of course we can eat chocolate biscuits again
or enjoy a few drinks! But we should try and carry within us something
of Christ’s sacrificial nature. Jesus showed his sacrificial nature
when he fasted for forty days in the wilderness, resisting the temptation
the devil puts before him, which we focus on in Lent. Jesus time in
the wilderness was a time when he was preparing himself for the special
and sacrificial ministry that lie ahead - an itinerant ministry in which
Jesus and his followers were constantly on the move, not having the
comforts of a proper home. And ultimately he would willingly be sacrificed
on the Cross, for our sins.
We’re not Jesus, but his disciples are an example to us that we
can aspire to live his way. We can follow him! If we focus on Jesus.
If we try and live our lives alongside Jesus in the same vein as his
disciples, then more and more of God’s nature will rub off on
us. It’s a difficult journey, Jesus is honest about that. He says.
‘If anyone wants to become my followers, they must deny themselves,
take up their Cross and follow me.’
But we don’t do that journey alone. Jesus made his journey to
the cross and there he died for us. But the resurrected Jesus comes
back along that path, to all who follow his way on that same journey
from death to life. Indeed when we are baptized, we are baptized into
the death of Christ, in order that we might share his risen life.
So yes the journey of being Jesus’ followers is tough at times.
But it promises greater things to come.
So let us this Passiontide, accompany Jesus through his persecution,
his arrest, his trial and his scourging. Let us accompany Jesus as he
carries his cross, feeling its weight and sharing his humility. It’s
still not too late, even if we have been lousy at giving things up or
taking things on. But we really do have the chance to go through the
passion with Jesus himself. Be close to the one who always desires to
be close to us.
And in that closeness, in that relationship with Jesus, we have the
anticipation and excitement of a resurrected everlasting life.
Fr Carl Peters
The Clergy House
Tel: 0191 680 3875
Other Contact Telephone Numbers
Churchwarden - David 3789718
P.C.C. secretary - Denise 3781285
Brancepeth, St. Catherine's
Reader – Liz – 3731554,
Churchwarden - Joe - 3739927