Church of England Diocese of Hereford Billingsley

Thought for the week, 20th February; Lent conversations.

One of losses of lockdown has been conversations with groups of friends, whether round the dinner table, the pub or sharing in some other activity. When we gather we talk about all kinds of things, but perhaps the best conversations are those when we hear something that gets us thinking; those that spark off an internal conversation in our own head when the group breaks up. It can be a statement we feel we strongly disagree with or perhaps something new that resonates with us. In either case it makes us think through what we believe and can result in us having a deeper understanding; either to affirm what we previously thought or come to a new position.

One of the big issues we all need to deal with is to understand our own spirituality; not just whether we believe in God or not, but what are our core values and beliefs; what sustains, inspires and moves us. In the Christian tradition, this is what happens at Lent, the season we are now in. It is a time of self-examination, when we grapple with the fundamentals of our faith. That means challenging ourselves and being prepared to face hard questions honestly. It does not mean that we are going to get simple answers to them; often it is about learning to live with doubt and uncertainty. With our benefice this Lent we are running a series of sermons and workshops on “Hard questions” which we hope will help people better understand their faith. But whatever belief system you subscribe to, the discipline of self-examination and the courage to challenge ourselves by asking questions is a vital part of our spiritual growth.