No better time to reflect than Lent, says Baghdad vicar

Canon Andrew White has reminded people of the glory in suffering in a reflection written specially for Lent, which starts today.

The vicar of St George's Church, Baghdad, said the period of Lent was a special time to "regain our right focus".

He wrote: "For all in this land Lent is combined with the fast of Nineveh and is an intense time of giving thanks to the Lord.

"In the midst of our immense suffering we remember the suffering of our Lord, culminating in his intense suffering on the Cross.

"That time though was also his greatest time of glory and also our greatest time of glory. So this is a time when we all draw near to God and He draws near to us. There is no better time to do this than to find time to reflect."

Lent is marked by Christians around the world in preparation for Easter.

It ends on Easter Eve, which falls this year on 30 March, and the 40 days represent the same length of time spent by Jesus fasting in the desert.

A recent poll by Church Times found that a quarter (24%) of British adults were planning to mark Lent by giving up something.

The under-35s were most likely to participate in the season, with only 21% of people over the age of 35 saying they would take part.

Chocolate was the most popular item to give up (10%), followed by alcohol (4%), smoking (3%) and meat (2%).