20th February 2023

Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday – pancakes, yummy!

Then comes Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent with traditions such as fasting … somewhat less appealing. In the Old Testament (Isaiah 58:6-7) it is made clear that fasting to make others think well of you doesn’t cut it:

“Is not this the fast that I choose:

    to loose the bonds of injustice,

    to undo the straps of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

    and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry

    and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover them

    and not to hide yourself from your own kin?”

Much as our hearts go out to those caught up in the recent earthquakes in Turkey & Syria or as we ponder what we might be able to do in the face of the increasing inequalities in our own country, we can too easily feel overwhelmed.

Like Abraham and Sarah back in the book of Genesis, God does call us to leave our safe places and venture into the unknown, but God also blesses us, He accompanies us and equips us. Experiencing God’s love, we are energised and inspired to act, rather than guilt tripped into it. Jesus says:

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30).

Ruth Allen