Chocolate and coffee are typical sacrifices during the period of Lent but one clergyman is challenging people to give up being busy.
The Reverend Canon Dr Stephen Cherry is encouraging people to push
their schedules to one side, even if it's just for half an hour, and
discover the simple joy of doing nothing.
In breaking the relentless rush and activity, Dr Cherry believes the
daily quiet time will help people to review their priorities and become
more spiritually alert.
“This is a way of taking Jesus message that ‘time is made for people
not people for time’, right out into the marketplace, the workplace, the
home and the shopping centre," he said.
"In all these places people have allowed themselves to get caught in a
process of seemingly endless acceleration. People feel stressed and out
of control. They find that the faster they run the faster life seems to
pass them by. Lent is an excellent time to do this. The season of forty days and
forty nights reminds Christian people of the time Jesus went into the
wilderness. This was after his baptism but before the energetic time of his
ministry of teaching and healing. But even at his busiest Jesus
punctuated his time of activity and service with regular time to
withdraw and recuperate.”
He believes that taking time out may even have a knock on positive
effect on relationships, he believes, as people become more patient and
generous with each other.
Dr Cherry, of Durham Cathedral, is author of the recently published
Time Wisdom For Ministry, in which he gives clergy useful tips on how to
avoid the burnout from busyness and better manage the demands placed on
When Lent gets underway on Ash Wednesday - 13 February 13 - he hopes
people will make a small change to get through the day without becoming a
victim to the busyness syndrome.
"The idea of actively trying to give up busyness in Lent struck me as a really good one," he said.
"Time is so much more important than chocolate. Many people today
talk of experiencing ‘time poverty’ when the reality is that there is
plenty of time, we have just not learnt how to live will with its
A special website - www.notbusy.co.uk - has been set up to support those ready to give the challenge a go.
There are wristbands available to remind people of the commitment
they have made and on 12 February, Dr Cherry will be publishing a very
short ebook, Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom in an Hour, with useful time
Dr Cherry adds: “Many people today who find it impossible to connect
with organised religion are finding that spirituality is attractive,
helpful and transformative. By giving up busyness, people are taking a
step from the observance of religious ritual or duty – giving up
chocolate or whatever - and going for a real spiritual challenge.”