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As Lent begins on Wednesday 13th Feb, we’re going to attempt to follow 40acts.

Here is a bit about Lent for those who are wobbly on the subject (I’ve had a lot of help here from a book called Giving it up by Maggi Dawn):

The word ‘Lent’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Lenten, from which we get our word ‘lengthen’, and it referred simply to the fact that the weeks leading up to Easter were the early spring days that were lengthening after the winter solstice’.

So Lent is a kind of celebration in anticipation of spring – and this is why I have always loved it. I like to see the tiny everyday steps from winter into spring, you know, snow drops and that. Greek Orthodox communities saw the first day of Lent as ‘a celebration of the first outdoor day of the new year’

In medieval times Lent had become more of what we know today – a fast. But in contrast to what we know – Lent was very much a community thing. The rules were set and everyone stuck to them. So rather than giving up chocolate or some other things that we don’t need, the community would cut out something like meat for forty days. The Lenten fast was traditionally intended to daily remind people that they depend on God for everything. Giving up chocolate or buying clothes (as I have done several times over the years), doesn’t really remind us of God’s provision – even if it does make our wallets thicker and our waistlines thinner.

Observing Lent as a community means it is easier to do, because everyone encourages each other and eggs each other on and it’s more visible to those outside the community (especially if it’s all over facebook). 40acts is a great way of observing Lent, because it’s about giving and it’s about doing it together. You can do it on your own if you like, we won’t know.