Weekly Update – 11th February

A real buzzword that has emerged from reported events over the last few weeks has been “RESILIENCE”, which could be easy to dismiss with a ‘rolling eyes’ moment, as if to say that the world/country just needs to toughen up!! Lots of work is done in both primary and secondary schools to build up resilience in the young people that they have under their care as it seems that generally we are a more fragile society and need to be taught how to make ourselves emotionally stronger. The dictionary definitions of resilience are 1.Capacity to WITHSTAND or recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. 2. Ability of a substance to spring back into shape; elasticity.

Next week, with Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent – that time in the church year when we as Christians are encouraged to look at ourselves and see how we can be better. Like Advent, Lent is a time of waiting and preparing as we go on the journey to Holy Week, it’s a time to show our commitment to the way that Jesus would like us to live – by giving something up or by giving up time to take something spiritual up. At this time we think of Jesus going into the wilderness, on his own with only the wild animals to keep him company, to prove himself/build himself up before starting his ministry proper. We read, in Luke 4:1-13, about the temptations  that he faced – things that we understand only too well today. Being tempted by selfishness/greed/wanting to have material things for ourselves, being tempted to show off and impress people and finally by wanting to be in charge and show God who is boss! Jesus withstands all these by quoting passages of scripture to his tempter and although he is left so completely exhausted by this experience that angels have to come and care for him – he hasn’t given in and he has overcome the tempter. If that isn’t one of the best examples of resilience (see I’ve come back to it eventually!), then I don’t know what is!! In fact maybe the whole of Lent should be about resilience and how we can overcome the things that tempt us from Jesus’s path, how we should keep battling on when life gets tough!  Both those dictionary definitions fit the experience that Jesus had in the wilderness. When we have our own ‘wilderness’ moments which definition would we like to portray/ I quite like the idea of ‘springing back’ into the previous shape but ultimately, we change when we have overcome difficulties and feel as if we have been tested so maybe this definition is better – “the ability to work through pain and suffering”? Always remembering that we do not face this time of trial on our own – that Jesus is with us “ Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12)