Some of you may remember that old ditty “rain, rain go away come back another day.” After seeing the floods in many parts of the country I would have thought most people’s prayer would be, “rain, rain go away and don’t come back!” And on the face of things who could blame them, yet water as we know is part of the circle of life that helps to sustain all of mankind. But our disregard of the eco system has led to many imbalances of our natural weather cycle, and many environmental experts will tell you that it is an effect of global warming. Our seasons of Summer, Winter, Spring and Autumn is what I believe God has put in place and we play around with them at our peril.
Likewise the Church has season which help us to stay right with God, we have just experienced the season of Christmas and now we prepare for the season of Lent, a time which focuses our thoughts on the cross of Jesus. Many people during the time of Lent, which starts on Ash Wednesday 5th March and ends on Easter Sunday 20th April, try to give something up. Usually it would be something like chocolate, biscuits or even alcohol, or if you want to really go for it, all three! But why do we do it? Well, for me it’s an opportunity to think about the things that I take for granted in everyday life and try to live without them.
Jesus knew what lay in store for him; he knew what his fate in life was, he would give his life and make that ultimate sacrifice. Jesus’ passion is for all his people and so he chose to give his life and be separated from all he loved so that our sins, the things that separate us from God can be forgiven. He chose to stand in our place and take our sins upon his shoulders, so that when God looks at us he sees not the things we do wrong, but the face of his son. Yet the story does not end there, for Gods response to Jesus’ passion is Easter Sunday when we celebrate the risen Christ, when he rose from the dead.
So for all Christians around the world as we look towards Easter, thinking of Jesus’ pain and suffering, we can take the opportunity that Lent offers to join with him by denying something we hold dear. And then perhaps we will understand and appreciate the true meaning of Easter.