You can read it below, or for the coming week you can listen again on the BBC/iplayer – about 1 hr 47 mins into the programme.
Did you feast on pancakes last night? If you’re like me, you probably had to actually go out and buy ingredients so you could make them – tempted by Supermarket promotions on eggs and maple syrup. Which sort of defeats the point of Shrove Tuesday. After all, pancakes are traditionally used as a way of using up rich fatty foods in preparation for the season of Lent, which starts today – 40 days that remember Jesus’ fast in the desert and the lead up to Easter. Lent should be a rest from overindulgence. A time of going without so we can give space to contemplate and reflect. But I guess these days, most of us don’t like to give up things – do we? Especially if we think it’s linked to some out of date religious practice that has little if any relevance. Perhaps part of the problem is that too often we think spirituality is just about the inner life, when it should be about the way we live our day-to-day lives. I mean, Jesus who went into the desert. But he spent far more time feeding the hungry, tending to the sick, serving the poor, listening to those who needed a friendly ear, comforting those who mourned. And he also said: ‘Come, follow me’. Not into the wilderness, but into the world. To show similar acts of empathy and compassion, such as visiting the housebound to see if they need any shopping doing. Having a cup of tea and a chat with someone who is lonely, perhaps cooking a meal for a single parent who is struggling to cope. You see, the season of Lent is about giving out to others, and not just about giving up a few simple pleasures. Which I hope makes it relevant and beneficial to all of us, whether we’re religious or not.