Page 3 - March Edition
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FROM THE CURATE: FAST OR SLOW?

                         March is a significant month in the life of the church.
                         We shift gear. We move into the Lenten season, a time
                         of preparation and fasting ready for Easter. The 40 days
                         of Lent start on Ash Wednesday and end on Holy
                         Saturday, not including Sundays, which act as mini-
                         Easters, looking forward to the Feast to come. I wonder,
                         what might you fast from this Lent to better identify with
                        Christ? Perhaps an indulgence like chocolate, or wine?
Perhaps technology, having a screen-free day a week? Perhaps giving up
Sunday roast dinners and instead having soup and giving the money saved
to the poor?
I have been struck that the word ‘fast’ is rarely used to mean ‘abstaining
from something’. In a London commuter parish, it’s usually used in regard
to the pace of life, which continues to speed up. We live in a world where
busyness and fast-paced life has become addictive. Notbusy.co.uk is a
website which asks you to take a different approach to Lent. To give up
being busy. Or in my mind, to ‘slow’ rather than ‘fast’.
Busyness is a disease, and it’s becoming an epidemic. The default answer
when you ask people, ‘How are you?’ is no longer ‘fine’ but ‘busy’. And why
is busyness so bad? It distorts your
perception. It makes you feel self-
important. It makes you rude. It’s
an excuse for impatience. It’s an
excuse for not getting things done.
It’s addictive. It burns you out. It’s
lazy – chronic busyness occurs when
you have not asked the important
questions or decided on your priorities.
Lent is the time to take up a spiritual
discipline which reflects Jesus’
40-days and nights in the wilderness. Whatever else we can say about
Jesus’ time there, we know he was definitely not busy. So why not take a
leaf out of his book and find a way to cast busyness aside? Decide this Lent
to never describe yourself as busy and don’t let others get away with
saying, “I thought you’d be too busy”. Take some time out to do nothing
every day. Time it. Sit still. Let life be. Arrive and leave on time. Book your
holiday time well in advance. Earmark some time in your diary for
‘preparation’ and some for ‘catch-up’ every week.
Whether you ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ this Lent, there is no right and wrong here, but
sometimes fasting or slowing helps us focus on God, on life and what really
matters – but remember, we don’t have a religion, we live by faith in Jesus,
who loves us regardless.

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