A true fast Isaiah 58:6-12 #givingitup #Lent2014

A photo of the frost on the car windscreen on 1st March - just because I like it!
A photo of the frost on the car windscreen on 1st March – just because I like it!

Graham will post later I’m sure, but it’s me making a start on our Lent reflections today.

Today was always going to be a day set aside for reflection; I am on one of my regular days at Alton Abbey, taking the chance to soak myself in it’s quiet prayerful atmosphere, and with nothing but birdsong to fill the gaps between offices. That, and time with my spiritual companion, which isn’t quiet, but is reflective and meets the need to face the joys and tribulations of life with someone who will wisely suggest where I have not noticed God at work, or a realistic approach to some specific issue – time to be reminded that I am made in God’s image AS I AM deep down inside without layers of expectations imposed by myself or others, or in fact the system within which I train and will minister.

Isaiah 58:6-12 (todays reading in Maggi Dawn’s ‘Giving It Up’ Lent book), reminded me strongly again, of what I have missed in ordination training – the sharing of love and hope as God’s servant and on his behalf; not because it’s my job to, but because that is the way through which I most frequently experience God’s guidance, strength and ‘watering’ – his light. These things have been in short supply during ordination training, and I am apt to blame ‘the system’ and the way in which I was slotted into it as a Reader with a recent FdA in Ministry. But, realistically, though there are ways in which the system hasn’t helped, it’s not as wholly true as perhaps I would like it to be.

Interestingly though, with less than four months to ordination, even realising this, I see no point making vast changes to my pattern of life at home and college at this point, but I am really looking forward to a new pattern of life and picking up the threads of creative and social justice work in new ways in my title post (curacy). In some senses I guess ordination training, both through it’s own structures and aim, and through the way I have inhabited it, is a sort of extended Lent IF we focus on the deprivations of rich foods for which the medieval Lent that Maggi describes is known. I may not have enjoyed the ‘deprivation’ from active ministry, but (as I’ve said elsewhere before) through it I have had emphasised to me the things that are most important to my relationship with God and what it was that led to my calling to ordination.

Maggi talks about creating change in our kitchens and limiting the amount of waste that we generate. Perhaps because I’m the daughter of a chef (my mother) and a wildlife manager (think gamekeeper and you’d be reasonably close) I have always inhabited a ‘make do’ and ‘mend’ lifestyle. I think we do a pretty reasonable job of watching the state of the fridge and freezer (without which I’d be lost, domestically) using leftovers, composting and recycling.

So where in my life, or our family’s life, am I generating waste that needs to be used up and put in some sort of pre-ordination pancake? The places to look I feel should be in the realm of technology and social media, yet as others (like Revd Pam Smith in her Big Bible blog post ‘Giving Up – or Opting Out) have pointed out the relationships built through social media are important, else we’d not be blogging through Lent though a little cutting down might be in order! I could equally become a tech junky to facilitate this as integral to ministry, and the impending curacy makes the temptation strong. But tech costs money, and until I know something I don’t already have is vital, or some existing tech becomes so slow as to be obsolete, we try to measure our tech needs against the expense of generally making ends meet! So, where do you think our (or your) family waste is?



  1. I’m thinking about creating change in the kitchen as I’m trying to fit glasses into a cupboard, having to stack things up so that these new additions will fit – it seems wasteful to have so much in my cupboards, much of which isn’t regularly used. But these glasses are from clearing out a home where grandparents had lived so there is a history attached to them and were given to us with a “when your husband is a vicar you will need these” (presumably for hospitality not just because we will need to drink lots of wine and they know how bad we are at washing up!). There is lots that we have that isn’t for immediate use or has a history attached or was given as a gift – how do you know what to keep and what to clear out? And similarly, what aspects of my own personality and character need clearing out, which should I use daily and which should I keep “just in case” ? This Lentern journey and thinking about giving things up is proving more challenging than I’d thought!


    • Oh Ali, the hoarding issue, ‘just in case’. I do feel for you, for the problem and the decisions and memories. When my mother died 18 years ago, we found a small package of bits of carpet, kept for the purposes (I think) of matching other furnishings to. On it she had written ‘if God hadn’t have meant us to hoard things, he wouldn’t have given us lofts’ (or words to that effect – at college so I can’t check them, as I still have the envelope, though not the bits of carpet!)

      Yes, we too hoard, treasures with memories and things that might come in useful. You can pretty much guarantee that I persuade my husband to get rid of something because it’s not been used for years, that we will then need it within weeks! It’s a stewardship issue – how do we use (and store!) the resources we are given most effectively, that they might be used at some future date for God’s glory?

      Thing is though I can see the problem, I don’t have a solution. Sorry.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s