LENT is our time to repent, reflect, open our hearts a little wider and understand our Lord a little more deeply, so that when Good Friday
and Easter come, we have the opportunity to receive overflowing grace from God.  This year we shall be doing these things within our
own homes instead of gathering at church.

A few days ago I woke up thinking about Lent, the desert. Of how Jesus, after being baptised by John the Baptist, was lead by the Holy Spirit into the Judean Desert for 40 days and 40 nights, faced with wild animals, demons, the devil and his temptations. We can never imagine what He felt, how lonely and frightened He may have been, but we do know that He was not alone…..God was with Him all the way through.

DESERT TIMES – I’m sure that most of us will have had our own different desert times. We may not have experienced wild animals or demons, but perhaps temptations, whatever they may be. Perhaps someone we love had died, or perhaps we had worrying health issues, or indeed, many other things.  Whatever they were, we were afraid, felt alone, and perhaps as if God did not know what was happening to us.  But I honestly believe that indeed…..God was, and is with us, his children, all the way!  Once again, we are having a desert time.

The CORONAVIRUS outbreak is the desert time of the present age. It truly appears somehow rather Biblical due to the fact that the pandemic attacks all peoples of the world.  I couldn’t shun what I was feeling but just had to put it all down in paper. 

Because it seems poignant to me, that this has happened to us at our Lenten time. I think that is important, perhaps even a ‘wake up’ call. Yet, despite that, we must not lose our Hope, Faith or Love for each other and our knowledge that we are not alone.  This is a time to wake up and smell the coffee and improve our ways; be more tolerant of each other, of people of faith or no faith, whatever their culture or nationality, or colour.  Also to be more loving of this planet which God created for us,  as I think that so far….we are not caring for her as well as we should.

It is also a time for ‘new growth’ for the whole world and if we believe enough, then we can do it.

It is going to be a very long and difficult journey for us all. But – we can be better people in the future…I know I could be a better person than I am!  Sadly, many people have died as a result of this terrible virus. But many will survive.  We must not forget those who are still less fortunate than us in some parts of the world, some are in refugee camps, in the midst of wars in the Middle East, where poverty has become the norm and where there is little chance of medicines, and medical care. For them, all hope must seem lost.  

You may think I am not making any sense with these feelings, but in my little head ‘I do’.  

We are NOT alone and still have each other, even from a distance, and God still walks with us!

I thank the clergy here at St George’s for their well chosen downloads on St George’s website.  You can find many prayers, readings, sermons, and online services.  

If you would like to write something about your own desert time right now, I will gladly make sure it goes in future Lance issues, but I’m not pressuring you.

Look after yourselves and know that I am thinking of you all.

With love and prayers,

Barbara Gardner