As I write these words I am very aware that this year is a leap year; not least because my wonderful wife’s birthday is on the 29th February. I am also aware, as a Christian, that we have entered the season of Lent. A time when we give things up, wear hair shirts and generally get miserable! I’ll come back to Lent later, let’s stay with the Leap Year.
I am told that in history the 29th February was a day that obviously existed but was not recognised. The law was suspended for the day; so it was not possible to be born or to die on the leap day, official documents were modified appropriately. As the law was ignored on this special day so tradition was also held in abeyance; on this day a woman could ask a man to marry her; what an outrage! In short it became a day when people were given permission to do things they wouldn’t normally do!
This year Radio 4’s PM show celebrated that idea and invited people to “Leap for PM” on the 29th February. To do something that they wouldn’t normally do. A blind woman rode a tandem, people across the country did things, some amazing some banal, and reported back on their achievements. Take a look here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qskw#clips if you are interested in reading or hearing some of the accounts.
The guy who stood out for me was a chap from Wales who wanted to take a bus trip to Swansea but was too frightened. We heard how he addressed those fears, went to the bus stop and took that journey. An act of enormous courage, told with great humility and humour. Here was a man who chose Leap Year day to break the rules to do something new. I salute him
So back to Lent, tradition says that this is a time when we give something up, when we go without. Yet, as I’ve argued elsewhere, Lent is the season we are meant to prepare ourselves for new challenges, exactly like the guy on radio 4. Supposing we decided that this Lent, this Leap year we would do something new; we can name any day of the year as our Leap Day and use it to make a difference.
What would your Leap be? How would you use this special day, remember it’s special because you have called it so. It’s yours so use it.
As men I believe that we can change the world by changing our lives; by living a life that is not cheapened by pornography or commercialism. A life that is not centred on ego and self satisfaction; a life that is committed to service and because of that service becomes a full life, a rewarded life. To do that we need what the monastic orders call a Rule of Life, don’t worry I’m not setting up a monastery or advocating celibacy.
What I am suggesting is a modern, counter cultural approach to life that puts the living God at the centre of Life. Have a look at http://codelife.org/ and, maybe, decide to change your life. In so doing you will help to change the world.
That’s silly isn’t it? No individual can change the world. But this is a Leap Year and this is Lent and in a world where the Jewish son of a carpenter can die and be raised from the dead anything, absolutely anything, is possible. Happy Easter.
P.S at Strive we are committed to recycling so parts of this blog will also appear in our Parish Magazine. How’s that for green credentials?