I grew up near to a town called Olney in Buckinghamshire, it is a small, pretty little place but punches above its weight in regards to its history. One significant event happened in 1445. According to tradition, the church bell was rung on Shrove Tuesday to summon the townsfolk to the church, one housewife who was making pancakes ran out of the door so as not to be late, with frying pan in hand and began tossing the pancake in order for it not to burn…and so the pancake race was born. It has been run in Olney (and many other places worldwide) since that date and heralds the beginning of Lent.

Lent is a time when traditionally people give up something in order to show their devotion to God by releasing more time to pray and prepare by abstention and fasting for the Easter season. Personally I tend nowadays to being something spiritual or practical rather than give something up, which I suppose is at the root of the tradition anyway.

This may take the form of prayer or spiritual reading, or perhaps volunteering at a food bank or other community group. It is a time to reflect on God’s call to people to love God and to love your neighbour.

The Lent season is an important one for the church as it reminds us of our divine calling. I have recently been reading about Origen of Alexandria, one of the earliest of the church’s theologians, and for me, he hits right at the core of what it means to be a human being, recognising why we were created in the first place. Back in the third century he said this:

The ultimate goal of human life Is intimate and continual communion with God.

There is something about those words that I urge us all to reflect on in this season of Lent, there is something of great depth that reaches deep within our souls and somehow provides a solace for the heart and a respite and a haven for our troubled hearts and minds.

Many blessings

Rev Chris Jackson

Superintendent Minister

West Devon Methodists