All you need is…

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

  1. The Vicar of Dibley
  2. The Reverend Richard Coles
  3. Stained Glass Windows
  4. The Archbishop of Canterbury
  5. Rev Kate Bottley
  6. Frances Spufford’s chapter on Jesus
  7. CS Lewis (Irish but you know what I mean)
  8. How much they annoy the government
  9. Women Priests
  10. 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 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



  1. February 23, 2021 / 8:27 am

    The bells! I love the bells (altho not so keen on the prerecorded ones which are played through speakers from a local church tower near me) I remember, in 1992,the 200th anniversary of the founding of BMS Baptist World Mission. (the first modern say mission society) They hired Westminster Abbey for a Thanksgiving Service. When we came out the bells were ringing – about half an hour of glorious change-ring in g, peal upon joyful peal of bells. Utterly fabulous.
    I will always be a nonconformist (I did have a brief Anglican foray in my student years). But it’s good to appreciate the best bits of our Churches Together friends.

    • lesleyps91
      February 23, 2021 / 9:17 pm

      Yes! Bells. We had bells at the end of our road. Fantastic

  2. February 23, 2021 / 3:30 pm

    Have you listened to Revd Kate on “Fortunately” podcast with Fee Glover & Jane Garvey. I think you’d like that podcast if you don’t already know it, but Kate spoke such sense in that episode.

    I was cheering and laughing as I did my walk today. Excellent stuff

    • lesleyps91
      February 23, 2021 / 9:18 pm

      Yes – I did hear that. She was very good. Always so normal and also kind

  3. February 23, 2021 / 3:59 pm

    I watched the Monastery programme. It feltsuch a relief not to have noise, commentary, just to be able to watch the monks go about their day. The beekeeper was touching.

    • lesleyps91
      February 23, 2021 / 9:19 pm

      Yes, he was and also the one making the white habit and giving it to another monk.

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