As I look out of the study window, I am reminded that March has been described as the month that comes in like a lion but leaves like a lamb: the assumption being that by the end of the month named after Mars, the god of war, the quieter spring weather will have taken hold after the storms often seen at the beginning of the month. Given the recent deluge one rather hopes so.
There are many animal-related sayings and folklore associated with the month. For example, we have mad March hares boxing their way through 31 days, and the full moon in March is apparently known as the worm moon, because it encourages the worms to rise to the surface of the soil as spring begins to appear.
Then we have St. Patrick’s day – the fifth century monk who supposedly banished snakes from Ireland, and likened the shamrock to the Trinity. He also created the Celtic cross as we know today, intertwining the ancient pagan sun symbol with the Christian cross, not so that the new religion should replace the old, but that the two would become intertwined.
I have a great affinity with Celtic Christianity. It embraces the seasons and the whole of God’s wonderful creation. Which leads me onto the material that the Church of England has produced for Lent this year. It has been written to support the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book for 2020, ‘Saying Yes to Life’ by Ruth Valerio. We are challenged to a 40-day journey to care for God’s creation with weekly themes which explore the need for humans to value and protect the abundance God has created. There’s also a younger people’s challenge. The material is thoughtful and designed to broaden our view.
If you want to know more: www.churchofengland.org/livelent and I will have some copies available.
I shall sign off with the prayer used for the first week and written by Timothy Rees:
God is love, let heaven adore Him;
God is love, let earth rejoice;
Let creation sing before Him
And exalt him with one voice.
God who laid the earth’s foundation,
God who spread the heavens above,
God who breathes through all creation:
God is love, eternal love.
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