Hello Friends,
Well here we are in February already, thinking about preparing for Easter but first Shrove Tuesday and Lent.

This year Shrove Tuesday falls on February 16th. I do hope we can all enjoy a day of Pancake eating! Pancakes galore with each other would be wonderful; if not let’s eat at home and share our Pancake attempts on video.

We start Lent with Ash Wednesday on 17th February. Usually we have ready the burned crosses of last year’s Holy Palms. Again we think about our Lenten Sacrifice, but it seems a big ask after the months of restrictions to even think about making another sacrifice.
If living with COVID is beginning to wear you down, you are not alone. I think we are all suffering from what we could call ‘Pandemic Fatigue’. The longer it goes on, the deeper we have to dig into our own personal survival kits.

In the Bible there are 2 verses that give us good advice for this coping with ‘Pandemic Fatigue’;
Thessalonians 5:18 – A true friend will build you up.

Stay connected to friends through video chats, phone calls, email and/or messenger. Reach out to friends when you are having a bad day and check in to see how they are doing. Exchange tips on what’s helping you to cope. Try to find a way to do something kind for a friend, it will make a bad day feel better.

Proverbs 18:1 – In contrast, prolonged isolation puts our health at risk.

By contacting friends, you are ensuring that they have someone to speak to and to share their joys or problems with and so do you. Although you may not be able to meet physically, you can still speak to each other.
Both these verses tell us how we can help ourselves during this pandemic.
These verses can also be used as a Lenten Promise. A Lenten Promise doesn’t have to mean going without something. It can mean giving of yourself, time or money: something that will benefit others. You could choose to contact a different friend each day/week, or visit a friend that you know would love some company, even if it means sitting outside socially distanced. Make a donation each week to one of the many charities that are so much in need.

The main thing in Lent is to take on a discipline and follow it through for 6 weeks – that’s the hard bit!

Sadly, there isn’t any news of any lifting of the restrictions yet, so services in church are still not possible, but Rev Val is still videoing a service each Sunday at about 10.30am. You can watch it on St Nicholas Church Facebook page.

Stay safe everyone
Chris Leiper