Osbaldwick and Murton Parish Link
March 2019 - Giving Up and Taking Up...
March brings us Ash Wednesday (6th March) and the start of Lent. This is the season of six weeks' preparation for Easter, the greatest festival of the Christian Year. Lent is a time of refreshment and renewal in ourselves and our lives. Traditionally, Lent involves acts of self-denial, fasting and giving in various ways. Many people give things up for Lent - some special food or drink, or some other pleasure.
But giving something up enables us to take something up. This might be something new and positive such as making room for God in our lives, so that we can grow in the knowledge and love of God and lead lives that are more in keeping with his will for us.
By committing to making changes in our daily lives, this serves to remind us that it's really all about Love - imitating God's perfect love for us all (shown supremely in Jesus Christ) by seeking to love God more in return and - what goes with that - seeking to love one another and other people more. This is not sentimental or just a matter of feeling; loving God and our neighbours is an act of will, a deliberate intention, no matter who our neighbour is or how we feel about that person.
'We love, because he first loved us', as The Bible says. When we seek to show loving concern, care and compassion for others, whoever they are, we are really copying that perfect divine example of Jesus, who taught us to "love one another, as I have loved you." It isn't always easy, but following Jesus's own example is the best way to do this, relying on his guidance and his strength within us. It is also the way to true joy, inner peace and lasting happiness.
'So faith, hope and love abide - these three; but the greatest of these is love.' (1 Corinthians 13 v 13).
Take courage from these and challenge yourselves to doing something different this Lent and may God bless all who read this, with his limitless love.