VEGA News Item

How Will You Observe, Lent, Vicar? - 01/03/2009
What better way to celebrate Lent than with lentils?
1. Prominent Christians share their Lenten resolutions and ideas for uplifting reading with purchasers of the Times Newspaper (28 February 2009), in which reading and pilgrimages by proxy (i.e. by reading) count as the most-practised "spiritual sustenance for a 40-day journey towards God" in the comments by the 22 prominent clerics and theologians.

2. Melanie McDonagh, Journalist, Master of the Keys, Catholic Writers' Guild, declares: "I'm trying to give up meat. It's easier than giving up drink. Sundays don't count. Neither do feast days, especially St. Patrick's Day. And Sundays, I need hardly add, start on Sunday Night," she confides (shriving, as in Shrove Tuesday, represents a conventional confession and feast or mardi gras before a period of self-denial).

3. Paul Woolley, Director of Theos, "will be giving up meat this Lent. I will be reading The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller. He shows how the parable reveals God's extraordinary and prodigal love towards the irreligious and the moralistic," he writes.

4. Among other declarations of abstinence Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times, writes: "For some years now I've given up alcohol and sugar during Lent. Each year I try to wriggle out of it, and maybe this year I'll succeed. But God seems to think it's what I need, so who am I to argue"?

5. Luke Coppen, editor of the Catholic Herald, indicates adherence to advice given him by a Lebanese monk, who told him that "he was giving up eating breakfast for Lent." But don't worry, "the monk added: you couldn't possibly do that because you're English." Luke Coppen says: "This Lent I hope to prove him wrong."

6. Messages from the "health-police" are beginning to enter Lenten observance: Robin Baird-Smith, Director of Continuum Publishing states: "I am giving up 'grazing'- picking at the contents of the fridge outside mealtimes. Discipline in small matters encourages discipline over greater issues."

7. James Catford, Director, The Bible Society, is "not just fasting" from the TV ("which brings all sorts of trash into our lives - we've moved the TV out of our living room)." Stephen Plant, a Methodist minister and lecturer in theology, University of Durham, takes a practical line reminiscent of veggie campaigners observing May Day (M'aidez) as a day of succour to the starving to counter the effects of parades of military might during the Cold War. "I will give up drinking alcohol for Lent and give the money saved to one of the medium-sized international development agencies being squeezed hard by the fall in the value of sterling." The Right Rev. David Lunan, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland takes a similar line "in prayer than I do watching television to give a pound to every homeless person I meet, and stop to chatů.."

8. The "green new deal" prompts the Rev. Roberta Rominger, General Secretary, of the United Reformed Church, to read Ann Pettifor's The Coming First World Debt Crisis for Lent.

9. Chris Bain, Director, Cafod, declares more heroic gestures: "I shall be part of a group carrying a life-size wooden cross and braving wind, rain, and sun on the 100-mile Scottish Cross Pilgrimage through the Western Highlands of Scotland to the island of Iona." Let us hope that the pilgrims will also make vows to ensure that the ewes may safely graze in their less favored environment and in the final month of their pregnancies like the flocks hymned in the 23rd Psalm.

10. Vega received invitations for the Lenten observances from the local vicar. We have replied with fliers and advice from our Portfolio of eating plans that would embrace suitable practice for us all of thrifty husbandry in accord with Salutary Food derived from Salubrious Farming. We also received last year friendly support from the Archbishop of Canterbury's Office. So we have returned the vicar's invitations with year-round visits by her parishioners to our website (see below).

11. We also hope that Britain's frugal son of the manse would heed the advice of his own ministers in supping with President Obama at a table topically requiring catering of universal applications of kindness and consideration to all living things. Go for it, Gordon!

Letter to All Hallow Church, Greenford, Middlesex

Thank you for the invitation to participate in events arranged at All Hallows in celebrations of the season of Lent.

These are timely observances relevant to consumers of all faiths, creationists, and humanists rueing the excesses of over-indulgence and the need to atone, preferably in practical and altruistic ways.

Our leaflets summarise authoritative commentaries on the situation and means of personal observances recognizing the common good that can augment the significance to them of earlier events in history.

"Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith."

So what better way to celebrate Lent than with lentils, recipes for which can be found on our website. The recipes are accompanied with data on nutrients and profiling in full Food Standards Agency style.

And on Mothering Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Lent, let us strive to abandon complicity in the treachery that subverts the cow's "harmless life" and denies "her darling" its portion of precious milk to nurture us humiliated milksops. The dairy-free milks of human kindness are availed chilled and UHT in supermarkets and shops in Greenford even on the austerist of Lenten days. Giving them a try as an expression of mercy to the other animals befits the celebration of humble festivals that not accompanied by indulgent feasting.  

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