Another journey begins…
…could well introduce the saga of yesterday. At 4am I travelled by car from home to Glasgow Central Station (Andrew being a hero at such a silly time) then by coach to Carlisle and train to London. That leg all went very smoothly, London seemed positively spring-like despite the wind with daffodils and even magnolia in bloom. The meeting I was attending (the Board of Studies appointed to oversee the new training course for Worship Leaders and Preachers within the Methodist Church) was so interesting that there was no danger of nodding off!
Back to Euston for 3:30pm – all went well until just north of Watford where Storm Imogen had blown plastic sheeting onto the overhead wires (apparently – I didn’t see this) so we had a slight delay – nothing serious. At Preston things went badly wrong; we were stationary there for over an hour before being told our train was cancelled and we should wait for replacement buses. It seemed incredible to me that there were so many people wanting to travel between Preston and Lancaster on a Monday evening… coach after coach was summoned and filled, but the queue still wound on for miles (about 200 yards). Eventually I climbed onto a coach which drove through wind and wave (sort of) to Lancaster – back onto a train there and off to Carlisle where more coaches awaited for the last stage, finally arriving back at Glasgow Central around 11:30pm. Once again my knight in shining Focus was there and we were home for midnight. Oh welcome bed.
But in fact, today’s title is really referring to the Lenten journey which begins again tomorrow. This year it comes hard on the heels of the Christmas season, we have had very little time in which to be “ordinary”. So it’s back into purple tomorrow for me and the house, which helps to remind me that we are in a season of restraint, confession, preparation and simplicity. Sounds good. Up here in Scotland I am getting the feeling that “giving something up for Lent” is pretty suspect and associated more with the Roman Catholic Church than with sober Protestants, but I may well risk it nonetheless, pondering that self-control is a gift of the Spirit which occasionally needs exercising lest it wither away. But I agree with those who say that “taking something up for Lent” is probably more important. I will certainly be taking up Malcolm Guite’s Lent book of poems, “The Word in the wilderness” but still have a nagging feeling I should also be doing something which might do someone else a bit of good… What are you going to be doing as we travel the Lenten road over the next 6+ weeks? Jill
PS Relevant to none of the above, but so beautiful I want to share it; here, in a rare shaft of sunlight today, is our Hamamelis Arnold Promise blooming away in the wilderness of mud which is currently our back garden