A blog by Jeremy Aspinall, Director of Fundraising & Communications at CUF
In my head Lent is a time of guilt - I’m supposed to give up all sorts of things and become a very virtuous person that doesn’t drink, eat sweets or behave badly. I am quite rubbish at this because I eat and drink liberally and generally like a bit of a good time! So I end up feeling more guilty than usual during Lent. And when we developed the idea of “Give it up for Lent” I knew it would appeal to all sorts of virtuous people, except me!
Reluctantly though I thought I better take the bull by the horns and decided I couldn’t possibly ask others to do something I hadn’t done myself and so have just completed the 24 hour fast for Church Urban Fund.
I had a good meal on Tuesday night that included pancakes which was over by 7.30pm i.e. the start of my 24 hour fast and left myself a note on the kitchen table where I would normally put the cereal bowl saying “No!” in case I forgot myself in the morning. I gave myself an extra 10 minutes in bed so that I could catch the same train as usual without dribbling over the Weetabix box.
I decided not to tell my colleagues what I was doing as I thought it would immediately lead to all sorts of food dangled in front of me. We had a mid-morning meeting and someone had kindly brought in flapjacks – which I ignored and drank water.
At 12.30 I went to a short Ash Wednesday service and have to own up to taking communion (which I am interpreting as not breaking the fast) suddenly I had a feeling that I was doing something really quite important. A bit of a spiritual spring clean for a God that loves me unconditionally despite my indulgences.
The afternoon was very busy and I had a few hunger twinges but generally speaking it was fine. On the train home I thought how pampered my life was in comparison to so many people. I was going to have dinner tonight, but I know that in many places across this county people really struggle to put food on the table.
I was struck by a recent story of a young boy at a holiday club in Middlesbrough who had been provided a hot lunch and decided to eat just a bit of it (wow what humbling self-control this takes) and take the rest home for his mum as he knew she had nothing and would be hungry. I have decided to make a donation to CUF to help the work with people like that boy and his family. To my surprise I am really quite enjoying the start of Lent.
You can find out more about Give it for Lent at: http://cuf.org.uk/giveitupforlent
Author: Mr Tim Burton-Jones
Date: 15 February 2016
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