Let us take up God’s invitation to live life courageously

When my children were much younger they couldn’t work out why it wasn’t possible to have Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday all in the same week!  I have to say there were moments in my time as a Parish Priest when I wished that could have been the case. But think what I might have missed.  Those forty days of Lent are when we’re invited to pay attention to the things of God within us and around us because so often in the rest of the year we don’t.  We are all familiar with the story of Moses and the burning bush, but reflect on it again just for a moment.  The bush wasn’t right in front of Moses.  It was over to the side somewhere, because when Moses saw it, he said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight’.  Because he turned aside and didn’t rush on, he saw God. I hope that, during these forty days, we try to find some time to turn aside and pay attention to the God who is at work in us, at work in the people we meet and at work in the communities where we live and work and serve. If all these days were compressed together, I’d have also missed the experience of Holy Week.  I often wonder whether ‘holy’ is too religious a word for this deeply significant week in our faith story.  Perhaps it would be better described as ‘courage week’, because we all need courage to be steadfast in the face of suffering and death, in the face of disappointment, heartache or lack of hope.  Much of the time we struggle to do it, but courage, writes Kierkegard, ‘is not the absence of despair and fear, but the capacity to move ahead in spite of them.’  Courage is what the resurrection calls us to; the courage to insist that even in the midst of suffering, or conflict, or despair, not all is lost; the courage to hold to the hope we have in Christ no matter what. What I don’t want to miss is God’s invitation to me and to you to live more courageously, standing up for what is life-giving in our world, and standing against all that brings death, destruction and despair.  Will the joyous conclusion to Holy Week that is Easter Day encourage us to live more in kindness and compassion, more in hope than in fear, resisting safety and security and embracing the risk of the adventure of life that God is inviting us to make? +Peter Taunton