Monday, 22 February 2010

A Pause in Lent - One

Oooh I thought, in a reflective moment, whilst perusing the blog that Floss writes, that sounds interesting. I'd read about 'A Pause in Advent' and some of the comments about how much people found it helpful, to take time out & step back, think & reflect.

I am a very reflective person - almost too much I wonder sometimes - I like to mull things over, chuck in few what if's etc.... We use it a lot at work - Reflective Practice, as away of learning, improving our knowledge, learning through the experience. 

So my first thought, having committed myself to this for the next 6 weeks, was what did Lent mean to me? & thinking about it, I don't think I've ever observed Lent.

I was brought up in an active Christian household - hence my biblical name. I think my parents in my early years , would say they were non-denominational, free church people. I cannot remember a lot of 'traditional worship' as a small child, I think there were a lot of house groups, but there was also a strong sense of sharing - and this has sharing has continued to this day with my mum & dad. They offer a very open house, welcoming fellow christians to stay if they need a room for the night when on their travels. I have often said that I could turn up to M&D house, to find a burglar in the house, and I would assume it was one of their friends who'd come to stay. 

As mum and dad moved further north, the family settled into a more formal worship, at Baptist, C of E and more evangelical churches.  

By the time we moved to Derbyshire, I was in my fully fledged teenage angst years - where what I'd been brought up to believe was questioned, argued - and almost at points, raged against. Peers told me it was 'square' to be in the Christian Society (can any one else remember being 'square'?). I didn't want to stand out - I wanted to blend in with my counterparts, a brief spell of being bullied, had reinforced the need to fit in. Sociology taught me that it was a form of control of the masses, for example Methodism (perhaps the church that I felt most at ease in) with its quiet practice and abstinence, was encouraged by the Mill owners as a way of ensuring well behaved workers.  I felt cross at what I saw of people, not practising what they preached, even though my mum, would say that we are only human, not perfect. And most of all I questioned - is there only one right faith? How can good, caring people, suffer eternal damnation, because they were Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish or Christian?

I do not currently attend a church, yet I still feel a sense of faith. I have seen too much, felt too much over the years to believe that death is final. I've witnessed things that cannot be accounted for by medicine or science. I've watched a strong faith be of comfort to those facing death, and those facing the loss of someone. I've watched as people have drawn strength form their faith, and a times felt that things have had a 'helping hand'. I have drawn strength and comfort, given thanks to my God, whom I believe is a kind and caring God, who will hold people in his comfort. I have given thanks for his love (and the odd needed car parking space).

I think I am still on a personal journey - of finding what feels right for me. When I talk to others of what I believe in, I always say, that what gives me faith, strength and comfort is this prayer. It never fails to move me, and it is what I carry in my heart day to day, its how I try to live and practice my beliefs.

The prayer attributed to the 13th century Saint Francis of Assisi, originated in its current form in Franc in 1912. It became known as the prayer for peace, and was widely used as a comfort for the soldiers in WW1. Since then it has been quoted from persons such as Archbishop Tutu, to Margaret Thatcher. Its been widely broadcast in films such as Rambo, to the late Princess Diana's funeral. Mother Teresa used it as part of her morning devotions.

It was also the hymn sung on my first visit to the Hospice Chapel, on my first week in my new job.

Coincidence? or is someone giving me a nudge?

Love Lydia xx


  1. That's such a good prayer for your work... but also for a mum.. or a wife... or any of us, really. Thanks so much for bringing it back to my attention. It was a staple of my (square?) '70s education, but not part of my life here in France now! Along with so much else I have learnt through these first Lent posts, that is the thought which will stay with me from your contribution.

    Thanks for your reflections on the nature of faith, too. I came from the opposite kind of Christian background - liberal/nominal/wooly - and certainly had little to rebel against. Since then I have seen a lot to question amongst Christians, but little to challenge my faith in Christ. My mum is currently facing up to her decline with a lot of quiet but certain faith, and as you say, it is making all the difference to her.

    Thanks very much and looking forward to next week!

  2. I remeber singing that prayer as a hymn at school and I do remember the phrase 'square', I think I was told I was square on a number of ocassions. It sounds like you are still exploring your faith and what it means to you, worship can take many forms. x
    PS the original concrete cows are now in the city centre with a copy on Bancroft. MK still loves the cows!

  3. Like you, I currently dont attend church regularly, but I do have faith and I am a believer. I really liked this post Lydia, very timely for lent and thought provoking. I think in your job seeing how people gain strength and courage through faith, cannot faqil to touch your own life in some way. xxxx

  4. Let me see if I can type through my tears, I remember singing this at school and in the church, though I don't go to church and i'm not sure if i have faith or if I'm a believer but this did bring me a little peace in what is turning out to be a pretty tough time right now so thank you.

    Joanne x

  5. Interesting post Lydia, I believe in God but don't attend church, I had to go every Sunday as a child but those repetitive services leave me cold. I sang that at school, you've brought back memories!

    I am saddened that I can't have my youngest christened because you have to agree to attend regularly and as one of my eldest's school friends is the vicar's son and I see him or his wife every day I can't say that I will and then not go through with it. Although I would feel more comfortable if my little one was christened like her sister but it's my failing I guess.

    Mel xxx

  6. Thanks for a very interesting and thought provoking post Lydia :0)

    Hmmmmm I believe in God, though am not an active as I call it church goer, is that wrong Hmmmm I do feel guilty.
    My children are Christend and DD attends a C Of E village school though I have to say regarding my son's appeal and thank you for your comments, that being a Christian is of no consequence, even though it is a Christian school, when it comes to appeal. Now I have to say that does dishearten me a little. Why call it a Christian school if the fact that we are Christians does not matter in doing my best to get my son in with his big sister.

    I do love your Posts Lydia, I think your Jouney may never find its conclusion, do enjoy it though, isn't that what life is all about, one big journey....


  7. Hello Lydia

    Ive dabbled at the great buffet table of religion during my life and sampled bits of various ones along the way.

    I dont follow any particular religion now though, and I think everyone follows their own path, one that feels right to them. Some people choose to follow a religion, but I personally feel that the love and light behind all the religions is the same. I call it God, others may call it spirit or universe, or something else entirely!
    I love your posts too, this one especially is greatly thought provoking.

    Sending love
    Julia x x x

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Hi Lydia, I have just popped by to say hello!! We are swap partners in Michela's (Little Secrets from my Garden)Pamper Yourself swap. Will you please let me have your contact details so that I can send your parcel!!

    I don't attend church regularly!! However, I don't think that it is necessary, it's more important to live a life where you help people as much as you can as often as you can!!!

  10. I don't do structured religion but I do believe in doing good and karma. I think surrounding those I love in positive energy is one of the best ways I can be. Not sure if that even makes sense but I hope you know what I mean.

    Thanks for your comments and no the Dr gave me nothing for the pain! Just a case of gritting my teeth and much wall banging until the surgeon sorts me out. :)

  11. Hi, I popped in for A Pause In Lent and really enjoyed the music. Thank you :)

  12. Hi Lydia!
    I just wanted to say thank you for your kind message about the swap, hope you're happy with the lovely lady I've paired you up!
    Have a good week! xxx

  13. Just wanted to say a big thank you for the kind words you left me about my annoying family!
    I have a little thank you for send you for the giveaway I won. Would it be ok if you sent me your address by email?
    Lisa x

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. Hi Lydia - I've tagged you over at mine. Enjoy!

  16. Hello again and thanks for your encouraging comment! You haven't failed, you've been snowed under. I'm not at all bothered that you haven't posted whilst ill - I just hope you're feeling better now. It's so hard being ill with children and work to deal with.