Saturday, February 17, 2018

It Has Been a While

Looking at the blog schedule it seems that it was June when I last ran off at the fingers, and it is not mid-February. A couple of posts have been started and forgotten about, so perhaps I have not had anything compelling to say. Certainly, last year was an exciting one, in that we moved to Virginia and settled in the Shenandoah Valley. This was an extremely good move for both of us because although we both loved the wide open spaces of the west, we also hated the wide open spaces of the west, so the time had come to move somewhere a little more densely populated, but not too densely populated. The Shenandoah Valley with small towns every five to ten miles fitted the bill wonderfully, and we are very happy here. Perhaps the lack of blogging is a sign that I now have people to talk to - not in depth, but those random everyday contacts that make us human - which was something a bit lacking where we lived before.

I have to admit that even though it is the beginning of Lent I do not have anything that is particularly setting my fingers in fire. We have had the annual Facebook debate on what colour to use in Lent, and I had a happy time up in the peanut gallery proving that a little learning is a dangerous thing. Basically, the conclusion of the matter, at least for me, has long been that the great colour debate is a nineteenth century, first world problem that we are still rehashing. So far as Lent is concerned there is plenty of precedent even within the relatively straightened confines of England for violet (Exeter), ash (Sarum), or black (Lichfield, and Post-Reformation use), so you pays your money and takes your choice! We have also had the 'to ash, or not to ash' debate, which is solved in the UECNA by allowing the use of the 1967 Scottish Episcopal "Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Holy Week" materials, so you can either follow the BCP and not, or use the Booklet and do ashes. It also serves to remind us of how good we Anglicans are at arguing about adiaphora - to borrow a useful Lutheran word - and not considering the weightier matters of the Law, or rather Gospel.

Lent is a penitential season, and although being of the Reformation Tradition we talk far more about repentance than penance, the state of mind rather than the act, there is no getting away from the idea that Lent is a time in which we need to slough off old bad habits, and take on new good habits. This is all through the Grace of God, of course. The greatest dangers to Christian living today seem to be much the same as ever - being so busy that we forget God, or being so lazy that we do not get to Him. We are also, as a society, intolerably distracted. We seem to give too much attention to a lot of little electronic devices with small screens that seemed to be designed to suck our brains out! Certainly the idea of an electronics fast has been gaining popularity in recent years, and some of my more interesting online friends seem to disappear about this time every year. It certainly is a reminder to me that "anti-social media" takes up a lot of our lives these days.

So what about Lent? I guess it is the usual - cuss less; eat less; spend less time watching telly, Facebooking, texting, whatever... and also prayer more, read Scripture more, attend Communion as often as we can, show Him forth in Good Works as a sign of justifying faith. Lent is a time to be mindful of God, so let that be out goal through the coming forty days.