The season of Lent is upon us. For some it’s a time to give up something in an act of self-discipline.
It can often be chocolate before gorging on Easter eggs!
Somewhere along the way the religious significance can get a bit lost.
It’s supposed to be a time to deepen commitment in faith by finding time for more prayer or study, like reading the Bible more, or abstaining from something and perhaps using what you would have spent on chocolate for example, by making a donation to a charity.
Churches, like ours at Hellingly offer groups to talk about the Bible and things of faith.
We also have Lent lunches and use them to raise money for a charity.
This year we are supporting Caring and Sharing which helps 14 projects around the world.
We shall also be encouraging people to buy the Real Easter Egg for Easter, which has a little story book about Easter and helps raise money for charity.
It’s the only egg which is a true Easter egg. No sign of fluffy bunnies anywhere!
It’s all part of the build up to the most stupendous Christian festival of Easter.
Christians recall the story of the death of Jesus, who we believe to be the son of God and his coming back to life again.
It is why Easter is often a time to remember those who have died, and lilies are often bought and used in memory of loved ones.
There is I think something important about this festival which is relevant to everyone.
There is the religious and faith bit, which is of course crucial for those who believe, but it also helps to break down the barriers and taboos that surround death. It is a fact of life and important to understand that.
I saw a film the other day where the main character was told he was terminally ill, but who insisted that his wife not be told.
His wife subsequently guessed it but maintained the farce by not wanting her husband to know that she knew.
The result when such a course is followed is that no one has the chance to prepare and say goodbye in any sort of dignified way.
There is an old saying about making a ‘good death’.
In thirty years of ministry of all the funeral visits I have conducted the most bereft were those where it was either a sudden death or else the family and friends of the deceased had compounded the lie that the person wasn’t really dying.
You fight for life, of course you do, but death shouldn’t be permitted to cripple the living as well!