Another quiet day in my week, kept it relatively free again, about from this morning’s visit to the gymnasium, and a brief stopover in the town later. I did receive a wonderfully detailed email response to my letter sent off yesterday to a former work associate at my first place of employment here in Melbourne, back in the late 1960s. David Bull, was my boss’s deputy, and he wrote back with as detailed a description of his life since we last met, as I had sent him.
Whether readers are associated with the Christian Church [in Western Christianity in particular] or not, you may have heard mention from time to time of the ‘period of Lent’ – the observance of the liturgical season from Ash Wednesday up until Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the penitential preparation of the believer—through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events of the Passion of Christ on Good Friday, which then culminates in the celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The word ‘Lent’ is derived from the Old English ‘lencten’ which means ‘lengthen’. It refers to the lengthening of the daylight hours that occurs in the northern hemisphere at this time of here as Spring approaches. In that part of the world, it is in this period of transition from late winter to early spring that the season of Lent falls. Irrespective of its origins, and a different season, the occasion is also recognised in the southern hemisphere. For the Christian churches wherever, Lent is a season of penitence, reflection and prayer, so worship during this time is traditionally solemn and restrained. While I’m not sure if I can remember things going this far, we see the sombre colours of purple and black replacing the brighter white and green of the Epiphany season [the time following the Christmas season]. Flowers are generally removed from the sanctuary. Songs of praise and expressions of joy are removed from the liturgy until Easter. Such practices as churches holding special mid-week worship services and offering devotional activities to help their members concentrate on the traditional Lenten disciplines of fasting, almsgiving and prayer, go back to the early days of the church, and are meant to help Christians to recall and be thankful for Christ’s atonement of death on the cross. According to an article in Wikipedia, the Synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke indicate that, Jesus spent forty days fasting in the desert before the beginning of His public ministry, where He endure temptation by Satan. Thus, Lent is described as being forty days long, though different denominations calculate the forty days differently. In many of the Christian churches, Lent is regarded as being forty days long, but the Sundays between Shrove Tuesday and Easter Sunday are not typically regarded as being part of Lent; thus, the date of Shrove Tuesday will typically be slightly more than forty days before Easter Sunday.
Now, I know Lent has been observed in my church environments, but I have to admit to not really been made so aware of much of the above, it was just generally the period leading up to Easter, and so the emphasise was on that period of the Christian faith, really, the preparation time for the major ‘festival’ in the Christian faith. As for the ‘fasting’ aspect, I would be surprised if any strict adherence to anything of that nature is followed these days. Anyway, I have included this little piece for my own interest, as much as anyone’s
Today/.tonight saw the penultimate final of this summer’s One Day International [ODI] Cricket series, which this year involved Australia, India and Sri Lanka. The top two teams ended up as Australia and Sri Lanka, and with each team having won a final each in the best of three series, today’s game was the decider. Well, it turned out to be a match for the bowlers, as indicated both by the low team scores, and the fact that the Man of Match was a bowler – taking 5 wickets, and scoring 29 runs! The whole Series had been tight all along, with some close results, and neither of these two teams dominating the other, with wins shared amongst them. The Australian innings was a poor 231 runs, and in view of the demonstrated strength of the Sri Lankan batting, that was just not going to be enough! I didn’t watch a great deal of the game, but did see the final 40 minutes or so, with Sri Lankan despite losing wickets as did Australia, always in with a chance to reach the Australian score. Thankfully, it didn’t quite happen, and Sri Lanka just fell short, scoring 215 runs. And that Man of the Match – Clint McKay, brought back into the team for this match, and taking 5 wickets for 28 runs. With Michael Clarke out of the game injured, the acting captain role was performed by Shane Watson. Meanwhile, for the Australian one day cricket, they fly out of Australia early tomorrow morning, for the Caribbean, to play a series on one day matches against the West Indies, followed by a Test Match series. Sadly, the West Indies tours are never covered by Free to Air television, and the ABC radio also doesn’t always provide a full description of the Test matches. That has always been a tour that excited a lot of imagination and I guess is one place I would have liked to gone to watch the Australian cricket team!