This year was the first time I can remember Shrove Tuesday coinciding with my Birthday – which will now tell you all exactly when I celebrate that auspicious occasion. I love pancakes (lemon juice and sugar, if you’re interested) and, perhaps strangely, I also love Lent.
It’s a period that has always enabled me to enforce discipline on my life under the guise of “spirituality”, and the enjoyment found in the exercise of control has always been an integral part of my personality. This, as you might imagine, can both be helpful and a definite thorn in my side at times.
However, Ash Wednesday has not itself played a big part in my tradition as a Baptist; it was usually just seen as the first day of Lent, or even “the day after pancake day”. It is in recent years that I’ve journeyed further up the candle (don’t get excited, I might take a High view of things for a Baptist, but that’s still pretty Low by most standards), and therefore found an appreciation and a reverence for not only the act of being marked by an ash cross, but also for the period of preparation that sits ahead as we take up the pilgrim path to Easter.
Ash Wednesday marks the start of a time in the Christian calendar where we are asked to give something up, to fast, to participate in 40 days of preparation ahead of the Easter weekend; and so, we have asked our members to join us in doing just that: helping us all in our preparation. Throughout Lent we will be sharing bitesize thoughts and reflections from our members via social media, as to what Lent means for them as LGBTQ+ Christians or allies, and why they continue to support the work of OneBodyOneFaith. As well as this, we will be publishing a blog series that is again written by our members, offering deeper insights into the experience of LGBTQ+ Christians – exploring the themes of Lent through LGBTQ+ lenses.
I hope these resources will prove to be a helpful tool in your own Lenten journey this year, and that you find inspiration and encouragement from the voices of LGBTQ+ followers of Christ, who perhaps are walking a similar path to your own.