Struggle and Triumph – Forty Days

Messy Church is February 14 which coincides with Ash Wednesday this year.

AshWedWe will be doing the Imposition of Ashes at Messy Church as is our custom. The theme is Jesus being tempted in the wilderness.

Last month we did the Baptism of Jesus. After his Baptism Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days to pray and reflect on his upcoming ministry. Just like you and I, he was tempted to use his power for his own gain. It is a fascinating story of his struggle and triumph.

We will be doing things backwards by having the Imposition of Ashes and then sitting down to the traditional Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) supper of pancakes and sausages.

When you are called Messy Church, you get to take some liberties!

Here is a reflection to read to help prepare you for our gathering this month:


For Christians, Lent is a time of reflection that begins on Ash Wednesday (Feb 14th this year) and ends on Easter. The name Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient practice of placing ashes on worshipper’s foreheads as a sign of humility before God, a symbol of mourning and sorrow at the death that sin brings into the world. It is a somber day of reflection on what needs to change in our lives if we are to be fully Christian.

Lent lasts forty days. The Israelites spent forty years wandering before God led them into the promised land and Jesus, after his Baptism, spent forty days in the wilderness resisting temptation and preparing for his ministry. There are more than forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, but the Sundays are not counted as they are days of celebration.

During Lent we are asked to journey into spiritual renewal. We are asked to leave behind the things that drive a wedge between us and God, between us and others. We are asked to leave behind a life that is harmful to us, a way of being in the world that has grown comfortable and familiar. A way of being that allows us to close our eyes to injustice and to wear the mantle of power and wealth free of the discomfort of guilt and remorse. Ours is a wilderness of self- examination, guided by prayer, nurtured by scripture, our progress marked by acts of caring and kindness.

Some people mark Lent by ‘giving something up’ like chocolate or sweets. It is a discipline of self-denial. Others journey through Lent by taking on a discipline, such as doing an act of kindness each day, or setting time aside each day to be with God in prayer, or coming to Church each Sunday in Lent.

Perhaps as a family you could marked the season of Lent by choosing to say grace before the family meal. A simple grace is simply to say, “Thank you God for this food and for all that you have given us.”

Another idea is to have each person tell of something that was good in the day and thank God for that. Graces do not have to be complicated, but are a simple way of including God in our day.

Lent can be a time we discover who we truly are. A time when we can allow ourselves to be the person that God created us to be. A time of renewal.