A Lenten Pilgrimage
Lent begins this year on Valentine’s Day – 14th February. You can decide for yourselves whether that means feast or fast on that particular day!
However, Lent lasts much longer than 24 hours, so even if you are dining well on Ash Wednesday, then there are 39 other days for your Lenten attention.
It is often said that life can be viewed as a journey, starting when we are born and ending with our deaths. In between we face times when it feels like we’re dragging ourselves uphill and others when we are racing downwards running freely, with much level or softly undulating ground in between. We have a starting-point, an ending point (date yet unknown) and a lifetime’s pathway to negotiate.
When people go on pilgrimages, be they long or short, they usually have a destination in mind. Reaching the end point can be quite an achievement, but often pilgrims report that it is in the journeying itself that they gain most. The common factor is that they have taken time out of ordinary life to make space for an adventure of body, mind and spirit.
We could view Lent as a mode of Christian pilgrimage. It’s a time to try something different, to make space for our spiritual lives, to look after our bodies and our minds. At heart it‘s about enabling us to become closer to and more trusting in God and less reliant on the things of the world.
This year we are joining these two ways of journeying together. Our Sunday evening sessions (6 p.m.) will be based on the film The Way, in which the main character Tom (played by Martin Sheen) undertakes a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela along the Camino, following the death of his son on that same pathway.
We’ll watch the film the first week, and then use a published course (The Long Road to Heaven) to guide our response to the film, our reflections on its themes and our own lives.
For day-to-day God-time, the diocese will be publishing a booklet Praying Together as they did last year, which many people used and found helpful. For practical suggestions of generous acts to do there is 40acts (40acts.org.uk).
And if you want to get fit, raise money for a community project and go on your own pilgrimage, why not take part in our ride along the Camino in Puddletown? There’ll be a static bicycle in church, on which we hope we’ll manage to ride the 800km of the route to Compostela. If you are relatively fit and able, please join in, whether you ride 1km or 100 – every pedal counts! If cycling really is beyond you, then you can sponsor the trip – all money raised will be given to the Puddletown Playpark fund.
With best wishes for your Lenten journey, wherever that takes you