And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.
Lennon and McCartney
I have stumbled into Lent – in a non-conformist, struggles with altars kind of way. I understand that I have no business being airy-fairy about altars. I am quite accomodating of the idea that they are (at the very least) an aid to worship – which is good of me I know. Also, I watched the BBC4 programme on monks last week and spent a good proportion of it in tears at the humility and simplicity of it all. There were, as you would imagine, quite a lot of altars in that and it didn’t bother me.
However, after a brief detour into the Church of England when we moved, I continued to find myself quite bothered by kneeling at gold altars when it came to Communion. I think a lifetime of non-conformism which involved meeting in tin huts, prefabs and buildings that were notable for their plainness (and not in a good way) has taken its toll on me and I will struggle to be the sort of person who is spiritually comfortable with too much gold leaf and priests kissing their neckerchiefs or whatever goes on there. However, there are plenty of things I love about the Church of England
- The Vicar of Dibley
- The Reverend Richard Coles
- Stained Glass Windows
- The Archbishop of Canterbury
- Rev Kate Bottley
- Frances Spufford’s chapter on Jesus
- CS Lewis (Irish but you know what I mean)
- How much they annoy the government
- Women Priests
- The cool of ancient floor stones on your feet when you slip them out of your sandals on a summer evening.
I haven’t even got to the Book of Common Prayer and “When a Knight Won his Spurs” and the Church of England Vicar who told me when I was a child that Children of God had no limits. Pah! I may be in the wrong church! I obviously secretly love the Church of England.
Anyway – to return to Lent. I have given up two things. Twitter and crisps. I am missing one of them a lot more than the other one. (Especially Cheese and Onion). I was finding Twitter terrifying – despite only trying to follow positive people – I kept watching people shout at each other and found it all deeply depressing. I do miss the little films of dogs being rescued and old ladies in scarlet lipstick and wrinkly tights dancing the Macarena in their care homes but, on balance, I am probably better off without it.
I am also quite taken with the chart above (thanks to Ang at Tracing Rainbows) which is encouraging self-love this Lent. I think it’s very useful and will be giving it a go I think. (Although I think I may be overdoing the bit about taking a nap). If you want to print it – it’s at https://www.tath.co.uk/easter-resources I’m usually a bit allergic to the term “self-love” but, in the current circumstances – where we all seem to be beating ourselves up all the time because of the number of things we are failing at, I don’t think that doing a couple of nice things for ourselves can do any harm.
I started this rambly thing with one of my favourite Beatles lines. Like a lot of things they wrote after all that unfortunate carry on with the drugs, I don’t suppose its meaning is crystal clear. I usually think of it though as saying that to get love out you put love in and thinking about it even more – maybe that also goes for loving ourselves as well.
Have a good week