Our overall theme this Lent is ‘Journey of Renewal’. Jesus went into the wilderness to prepare himself for his public ministry. After the affirmation at his baptism in the Jordan – ‘This is my son the beloved, with whom I am well pleased’, he took time away from all worldly distractions to focus on himself and God. The encounter with the Tempter at the end of this wilderness time shows us all the things that Jesus was willing to give up in order to do what God required of him. He chose to live the life of an ordinary human, not rich, not powerful, not influential in the way that the world sees influence. For Jesus, his time in the wilderness was a part of his journey of renewal, preparing him for his time of teaching, healing, challenging and, ultimately, dying. We read time and again how he went off on his own to pray, showing that this renewal was not just a ‘one-off’, but needed to be repeated.
And so it is with us. Whatever we do in Lent, from giving up our favourite food to trying to make a difference with the change in our pockets, it can’t just be a ‘one-off’. We need to take time on our Journey of Renewal throughout the whole year. As we renew ourselves, it is also an opportunity to reach out and renew others. Throughout the church year, we have different types of study groups and seminars. We have Prayer Space, and Art and God. It is perfectly possible to read the Bible alone, or pray alone, just as Jesus did. Sometimes, this is the thing that we most need to do. However, there is so much to learn from listening to one another. We celebrate and embrace our diversity at NLMCC, so it is wonderful to see how we experience the Divine in so many ways. We renew each other, as we share our faith journeys. What is more, we renew people that we have never even met. It may be something that we say or do that ripples out beyond the church and changes a life. The Journey of Renewal that we have taken this Lent will enable families in another country to experience their own ‘resurrection’, as our donations release them from the death of poverty into new life. That has to be Good News.