Someone asked me, after doing 21 days Prayer and Fasting, are we still going to do 40days Lent? And I answered what do you think? Typical Nigerian way of answering questions. His response was; Na wa oo! My dear it starts on Wednesday. Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday the start of Lent.
Like the 21days, the Lenten Season is a period of spiritual renewal and exercise among others. We are assured of a disciplined life, assurance of God’ forgiveness of sin, deliverance from the bondage of sin, peace with God and man, close relationship with God and healing experience.
Sunday is not a ‘fasting’ day. Biblical tradition sets Sunday aside as a celebration day of Jesus resurrection from the grave. Every Sunday is a ‘Little Easter’ as it were.
Isaiah 58 spells out the kind of fast that is pleasing to God. I will advise we take a proper look at this passage of scripture and do accordingly. Read the entire chapter more than once.
We fast not to bribe or even please God. And so most times we when the results are not evident, we get discouraged in the fast. In verse 3 of Isaiah 58, the children of God queried God asking “Why have we fasted and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?”
God’s response, after scolding them, He explains to them the true meaning of a fast: verse 6 –
To lose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? To share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 11 The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
The Lord has spoken. What we do to help is that every Sunday during lent, we take a ‘self-denial’ offering, that is what you would have spent eating, that you are commanded to give to the poor, you bring to the church, and the church will properly administer it, you will surely see the hand of the Lord.
You also make peace with all; no malice; our results this year will be amazing to the greater glory of God.
This year the theme of the Lenten services is ‘The Miracles of Jesus Over Nature’. I beseech you all by the mercies of God, that we attend as much as we can all the Wednesday services and if he can the Friday Prayer Revivals at 6.30pm, and let us see Mighty Manifestations in our Mountain of Transformation.
God will see us through in Jesus name.
Your vicar and friend.
The Revd. Kiri Wakama