The Revd Sharon Grenham-Toze
With only a little over two weeks to go until Easter, I wonder how the Lenten discipline is going? Have you managed to avoid the chocolate, alcohol, swearing or whatever it was you were going to give up?
There’s a widely reported rule of thumb that it takes around 3 weeks to create a new habit. The theory seems to be that by repeatedly doing something over a period of time, new neural pathways are formed in our brain, which eventually make it easier for us to carry on repeating the behaviour. But, as the saying goes ‘old habits die hard’ and breaking a habit, simply giving up something, is a lot harder than making a new one. In other words, we’re more likely to succeed if we grow a new way of life, which then takes our focus away from the old ways.
So much of the Christian faith has been interpreted over the years as a prohibitive religion. But if we look again at Jesus telling his disciples that he came so they (and by implication we) might have life in all its fullness, then perhaps our perspective can change. Faith asks us to grow new parts of our personality, new attitudes and responses. As tolerance, love and forgiveness grow, so there is less and less room for bigotry, or selfishness, or greed.
And so we ask, dear Lord, that you would help us to grow, to become more generous in Spirit, more Christ-like in compassion, so that those parts of us that cause division, or shame or sorrow would wither and fade in the heat of your loving gaze. Amen.