Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, the Dean of Canterbury suggested a Lent Project. He calls us, his video watchers, his Garden Congregation, and his project is as simple and encouraging as everything else about his daily prayers.
The idea behind it is, naturally, taken from his garden. You take a little shoot and transplant it and care for it and it will root and sprout and become a plant in its own right. And don’t complain that you don’t even have a window box. The leaf off a jade tree or a leaf of aloe vera put in a jar of water will do just as well. In any case, that was just an illustration of the sort of creativity the Dean is thinking of.
First of all find a little notebook and down the left hand side of the page number the days of Lent. 46 days. 40 and 6 Sundays. Each day write down a word, an image, an idea, a person — something that’s on your mind. Now, do something creative with that word or phrase or whatever.
Yes, it really is. You can use the talents you already have or find something to do that you didn’t know you could do. Thinking of a friend? Sit down and write to them on paper with a pen and POST it. When did you last get a cheering letter out of the blue through your letter box? Write a poem. No, not something overwhelming like Milton’s Paradise Lost. A nursery rhyme, for example. After all, ‘Ring a ring of roses’ was thought to have been inspired by the Great Plague!
Painting? Well, drawing, then; that only needs a pencil and some paper. Nothing to see out of your window? Don’t make excuses — think Lowry and his stick men and women.
You never know when some little thing will gain great importance.
My husband died just before Christmas and I have been amazed and heartened by the letters and messages of sympathy and condolence I have received. In this context one letter in particular stands out. At least 45 years ago Grete, the daughter of a colleague, needed a home for a few days and stayed with us. In her letter she remembered my husband’s kindness and then she said:
“I must thank you for saving my life in lockdown. While I was staying with your family you taught me to crochet.”
That was certainly some shoot!
Yesterday, the Dean read Psalm 87 and verse 3. “Glorious things of thee are spoken, O city of God.” Talking of his project he quoted the last few words of that psalm. “All my fresh springs are in you.”
Now’s the chance for all of us to find some fresh springs.