Sacred Space today focussed on Matthew 9:14-15, where John's disicples ask Jesus why his followers don't fast when eveeryone else does. It's a curious thing to ponder at the start of the principle fast practised (in theory anyway) within Christianity.
This year, I am struck by the, completely understandable, reluctance of people to abstain from chocolate or alcohol or social media at a time when life is hard and monotonous. Similarly, whilst there are any number of creative and interesting Lent resources and groups to connect with, there is a degree of fatigue and fedupness that makes them less attractive.
The last time I abstained for Lent was 2010 (something I had done every year since 1978!) because, arriving at the start of Lent 2011 having just come through chemo etc., I felt I had done quite enough abstaining, thank you all the same. I think that this year, other people are discovering the same.
Why aren't (some/many) of Jesus' disicples fasting/abstaining? Because, frankly, the abstentions begun last Lent are still going on, and we really don't need any self flagellation to add to the mix.
Thy Will be Done moves swiftly from patriachal language to the inadequacy of all language to describe God or to express prayer. We know that, we've heard it countless times before. But sometimes we also need to be freed from the (self-imposed?) tyranny of getting the words right and allow ourselves to concentrate on the mystery of this God who seeks relationship with us.
Can I hold the two together? Can I weave a thread between them?
Perhaps it's simply this - that the God who loves us is more interested in keeping relationship with us than whether or not our spiritual disciplines and practices are perfectly honed. Perhaps we should allow ourselves to snuggle up on God's lap (as per Psalm 131) and simply to enjoy being held safe for a while.