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Imagining the Lectionary:  
Lent marks us out for renewal (Ash Wednesday / First in Lent A)
Reflection accompanying image “work needed beneath the surface”  
Bright blue paint marks out the exact place where work is needed. There is no mistaking the intention or the purpose of the colourful lines and lettering. Soon the surface here will be dug up and whatever lies beneath the iron cover will be replaced, repaired or removed. A patch of pristine tarmac will then be left to testify to the completion of this task of renewal. To passers-by the paint on the pavement is a visible assurance that what is wrong here is shortly going to be put right; the fault has been noticed, remedial action will be taken.
Someone cares. Someone will get below the surface and fix this.
I wonder whether Lent has the same sense of urgency, expectation and purpose as that implied by the bright blue paint? And if in contemporary culture it doesn't any more, why is that? With so much that needs to be put right both above and beneath the surface of our common life you would think that Lent would be grabbed by society as eagerly as an open-handed gift of food and shelter would be taken by a hungry and cold refugee. Yet apart from those in the know it will, as usual, pass by unremarked and unnoticed by the majority. 


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