February 24, 2018

How to Spend Lent?

Time Out. Time inpraying2

Apparently #Lent has been trending on Twitter! I’m wondering what that says about the way Christians have taken up the challenge of social media. For the rest of Lent I am giving up Twitter, and Facebook too – not as any real act of self-denial, but more to reclaim time which has soaked away into self-indulgence over the past few months.

I can justify mild bouts of self-indulgence easily, of course. Days can be quite pressured, commitments often demanding at this stage of life. Four generations of family keep us very busy – from the ages of 19 months to 95 years!  There are close friends also who need time, folk who are wrestling with issues in  isolation, people who are facing despondency and disappointment. We have to be in this together; no-one should be left to struggle on their own. Then there are cases of justice to address, wrongs to highlight, causes to support. We know that all it takes for injustice to flourish is for people of good will to do nothing. Since I wrote my last book there have been many more invitations to speak, broadcast and write – all of which is encouraging  but these bring their own deadlines. So at the end of the day it is all too easy to log on to Facebook and Twitter and let time go by in pleasant surface engagement with streams of consciousness!

So, I’m giving it up; just for the rest of Lent. I’ll visit a few elderly neighbours who don’t have computers, let alone Twitter, and see friends in person rather than via screens. I’ll be present to people I am with, rather than elsewhere in my head. I’ll go to sleep at the end of the day, and not stray on to these sites in moments of weariness. And I’ll get into concentrated preparation for my own programme of speaking, so that I can build up new thought-capital rather than lazily rely on what is already there.

I’ll post my itinerary here, in case anyone is anywhere near where I shall be travelling, and has the time to come along. And, I’m hoping that those of you who are praying friends this Lent, might just offer a prayer for some of the events that I’m involved in, as well as your own. If you want me to pray for you, please post your requests below- or email me. I’d like this to become a bigger habit in my life. We all know that praying carries no guarantees. But I’m still ready to wager that time spent on my knees (metaphorically, as much of my praying is in transit!) might just make me – and those I pray for –  more effective citizens in the Kingdom of God.

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