Do you feel sad when you see pictures of families displaced from their homes due to war or poverty? Does your heart sigh for those young children who face dangerous sea-crossings with illegal smugglers? Do you worry about the poor in India, and the imbalance of society? Do you care?
Or do you feel guilty because you remain unmoved when you see the plight of others? You know that you should feel something, and you’re a good person, so you wish the world was fairer, but what can you do to help anyway?
Well, here is the chance to do something. You are invited to be part of a mental marathon, and raise money to help Tearfund.
Tearfund works with many people, including those living in poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo — who live in a war-torn country and who struggle to find the resources they need to survive. They are also helping those in Syria who are trying to rebuild their country, offering support to refugees and families who need to heal after the trauma of war. Tearfund works in India, supporting the poor, helping them learn how to improve their lives.
I have been involved with Tearfund for many years, I trust them to spend the money wisely.
You are therefore invited to run a mental marathon in Lent 2022.
We are going to commit to learn Psalm 22 every day in Lent. Not religious? It doesn’t matter! Psalm 22 is basically a poem, it describes the events of Easter, and was written in Hebrew many centuries ago. Learning a poem from another culture is a good mental challenge. (When I was first learning Mandarin, I learnt a poem written by a Buddhist. It didn’t make me a Buddhist; it was a good exercise and I perhaps now understand a little about what Buddhists believe.) We all know that sitting on the sofa and eating ice-cream needs to be balanced with some physical exercise—but when did you last exercise your brain?
Everyone can do this. It doesn’t matter if you don’t manage to recite the whole Psalm, simply commit to learning some of it, every day for 40 days, and ask people to sponsor you. Your six-year-old might only learn the first few words, Grandpa might learn most of it, your ten-year-old will probably know the whole thing, forwards and backwards, and in twenty-two languages!
Why decide so early?
A marathon needs preparation. Plus, if you commit now, it’s so far in advance that it isn’t scary (I suffer a lot with scary). It’s a long poem, but if you read it through regularly (maybe every week) by the time we start Lent, it will already be familiar. I bet you could learn all the words to The National Anthem very quickly, simply because you have heard it so many times.
I am going to learn the Psalm in Hebrew, so I need to learn all the vocab first, and be familiar with the English version. You could decide to learn it in a different language too.
What do you need to do now? Commit to learning it, and put the date in your diary (2nd March 2022 for the start of Lent, earlier for collecting sponsorship). Decide whether you will learn the poem in English or another language. I will post an extract of the poem on my blog, every day in Lent. If you want the extract in a language other than English, let me know now and I will do my best!
If you want to receive daily reminders during Lent, sign up to follow my blog.
Plan your sponsorship. I have set up a Just Giving page (if you want to join mine, let me know now). Facebook do something similar. Or you could simply make an old-fashioned sponsor sheet on a piece of paper. It’s too early to start asking for sponsors, but plan now how to do it.
Put the dates in your diary. Be part of something.
(You can see more about Tearfund at: Tearfund.org)
Thanks for reading. Take care.
Love, Anne x