Wednesday March 6 was Ash Wednesday, a day when we reflect on “for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). We came into this world as dust, and we will leave the same way. Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent, a forty day journey, when we in penitence prepare for Easter.
The forty days represent the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness, where he fasted and endured temptation of Satan (Matt. 4:1-2, Mark 1:12-13 Luke 4:1-2). During this time, we fast and sacrifice things.
Lent is a season where we should focus more on Christ, whether it’s by praying, or digging deeper into The Bible. Have you been attending the daily Bible Studies in church? I encourage you 6.30pm to 7.45pm. Lent is meant to strengthen our relationship with Christ, and what he did for us; repenting of our sins and acknowledging that we have a Savior, and most importantly, preparing for the joyous feast of Easter.
Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is more than just giving up something you will simply return to at the end of 40 days. During this time, we are called to grow deeper in our relationship with God and become ever closer with Him in our earthly pilgrimage.
Along with giving up whatever we choose during Lent, we should also consider incorporating something new into our lives. Pray five minutes longer; read a chapter of the bible; offer some kindness without being asked. Help a neighbor out or just or strike up a conversation with a new person once a week. Ask someone what you could pray for them for.
This is not a ‘me’ journey as much as a ‘we’ journey. God calls us into community throughout. This experience is meant to build relationships, thus the need to join with others and act for their betterment along with our own. Often times, a sacrifice leads to new (and more fulfilling) opportunities. Money, which is saved as a result of our fasting, can now be donated to others less fortunate. This is collected as a ‘self-denial offering’.
Prayer, fasting, and alms-giving provide rewards that go beyond this world. Jesus tells us in Luke’s Gospel, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Luke 21:33, NAB). This Lent, let us aspire to live out His words in our individual acts of humble service; service that will be brought to fulfillment when we celebrate as one community of faith on Easter.
So, let Lent be a time of spiritual growth, a time to challenge yourself, and a time of repenting, a time of sacrificing, but most importantly, a time to grow closer to Christ. Not just during Lent, but every day until we meet him.
Join us during the week, as we study God’s word together, and grow in grace.
Your Vicar and Friend.
Rev Canon Kiri Wakama