I was once asked to be the executor of a will. The man who died hadn’t much to leave to anyone and his instructions were simple and to the point.

He did, however, have a few requests around his burial. He wanted a very plain wooden coffin with no ornamentation. He also asked that his grave would be filled in while people gathered around it and that prayers would be offered for his Soul.

Most significantly he asked that there’d be no purple or black cover put on the lid of the coffin but that the sound of the soil would be audible to all gathered – the dust, the soil, meeting the dust that would become of his earthly remains.

Clearly, he was a man of faith and one comfortable with the cross of ash on Ash Wednesday and the cross of wood on Good Friday. On second thoughts, writing this now, I realise the man had a lot to leave to everyone – a deeply rooted trust in God, a lived witness to the faith and belief in Life Eternal. May he rest in peace.

It’s a stark but promising time – Lent. Less to do, I often think, with giving up sweets or drink and more to do with taking up the call to live well and honestly; less to do with deprivation and more to do with motivation. There’s no doubt it’s a time of challenge and the promises we made leading up to and on Ash Wednesday must not be forgotten, even if there’s been slippage.

Always, there’s room for a second and third attempt. “Rome”, they used to say “wasn’t built in a day”, neither is a virtue or the desire to be a better person. There are weeks in Lent and there’s weakness displayed during them. We just need to try to allow the weeks to speak to the weakness – to keep our eyes open to the Simons and Veronicas of the Calvary climb who will share the weight and soothe the limbs.

So when we’re asked “How’s The Lent going?” maybe the answer is “as intended”

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