Richard Dawson, 3 March 2020

For literally a thousand years, indeed longer, the season of Lent dominated not just the Easter calendar but the whole of the Christian year. It set the scene for the rest of the year and it
coloured worship on every Sunday. 40 days of fasting, prayer, penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving and other means of self-denial. Lent was a time of mourning; mourning the sufferings of Christ but also mourning a world separated from God. Mourning a
world in rebellion and a race committed to a painful path without God. Lent raised all these things and more and in doing so established a spiritual context for all of life. This was one of the advantages of Christendom – nations were bathed in a Christian spiritual worldview and as such, despite the brutality of the various ages of Christendom, the person of Christ could shine forth
into the life of whole peoples.
Today our supposed enlightened minds are free to pursue whatever spiritual course we find satisfying and any sense of a national agreement around these things is gone but along with this I believe our spirituality and thus our humanity has declined.
We no longer raise up the supreme example of self-giving generosity to a world dominated by an ethic of self-advancement. Once Lent raised an annual challenge to the selfishness which characterizes our race. Rich and poor alike could see in countless pageants and celebrations that integrity, rather than material wealth, were what defined the humanity of each person.
We no longer celebrate a power that could tame all political and personal powers, not by violence, but by love and grace and so every person and every politician and every military
commander of whatever rank knew that peace was the desired outcome of every conflict.
Finally, we are no longer faced with a definitive purpose for all people – a purpose which made them both worthy and wanted – to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Instead we are
made purposeless by a culture with eyes only for people who can serve a utilitarian, materialistic end and for those who can’t – the winds of expediency are directed towards them in a manner which may even see them euthanized… in a painless way of course. We really do miss Lent, friends. Celebrate it with all your heart!

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