Did you manage to resist the pancakes yesterday?
I must admit that I did overindulge a little, but it was Shrove Tuesday after all and those pancakes were so tempting.
Traditionally it was the day when all those rich and delicious foods lurking in the larder were used up before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the forty days of Lent began.
Today is Ash Wednesday and the mood changes completely – now we are in the forty days during which reflection and self sacrifice is the name of the game and the tradition changes from one of excess to taking stock spiritually and resisting more than ever the temptations that life often throws our way.
Temptation can, of course, take many forms from the frivolous to those influences that can have devastating effects on our lives.
I remember in theological college struggling with those Greek exercises so much so that I was tempted to buy the ‘answer book’ which seemed to stare invitingly at me every time I went to the university bookshop.
Little help in the exam but typical of just taking the easy way and hoping for the best and it that never really works out.
We live in a society where ‘anything goes’ and the moral compass is often lost when selfishness, greed and excesses can often be seen as being the norm.
The ‘greed is good’ philosophy we heard in the 1970’s seems hollow now in the light of the bank crashes and the recessions that followed – greed is never good.
Someone once said to me that the only temptation to give into is the temptation to do good and that surely is sound advice.
To get alongside someone who is going through a rough patch or to befriend someone who we know who may be vulnerable or in need.
To take time to support some worthy cause rather than satisfying our own self indulgence then this special season may well be the turning point in the life of someone less fortunate that we are.
Jesus’ life was one of love and deep rooted concern for the lost and lonely, the outcast and the sinner.
He came through those forty days of the extremes of the physical and emotional temptations knowing that even in those darkness hours he was not alone and neither are we.