Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on our Lord Jesus Christ - His suffering and His sacrifice, His life, death, burial and resurrection.
Not all Christian churches observe Lent. The Bible does not mention the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2nd Sam. 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21.
For us in the Diocese of Lagos, during this period on Wednesdays, we shall be reflecting on ‘Jesus – The Perfect Servant: A Model for Believers’, and our homilies during this period will be based on a selection of some of these disciplines. We are encouraged to meditate and have a change of attitude in our approach to the issues of life, have a change of heart, repent, and come back to our Father who alone can grant us eternal life.
During this period, we shall be treating the topics
• A Submissive Attitude
• Prayer-Dependent Attitude
• Soul Winning Service
• Shepherd’s Attitude
• Supreme Example of Service
• Consequences of the Absence of Servanthood.
• How to Develop the Heart of a Servant
During Lent, what we would have spent in eating, becomes ‘self-denial’ (Is. 58: 1-12), and this is given to the church to assist the needy. For this reason, the church will take a ‘self-denial’ collection all through the Lenten season, and I urge you to take this spiritual exercise very seriously. You will be glad you did.
For us in ACOTA, we take Lent very seriously. We will have the ‘Traditional Lenten Services’ on Wednesdays at 6.30pm. It will be a time of refreshing in the presence of the Lord. I invite you to make it a date. Remember what led to the celebration – A repentant heart, a turnaround, a return to the Father, and the Father ‘Celebrated’ him. As we follow suit, we too shall be celebrated in Jesus name.
Prayer and Fasting fit together. Fasting without praying results in nothing more than hunger strike. And for us as a church the Lenten Season is particularly instructive.
Fasting is a vital spiritual discipline for all believers. Jesus did not say, “If you fast…” He said “When you fast...” (Matt. 6:16) The Apostle Paul fasted often because he said concerning his life, “in fasting often.” (2nd Cor. 11:27).
Fasting invites God into our problems and situations and asks Him for an answer. Fasting tells God that we are turning to Him for the answer to our need.
“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning”. (Joel 2:12)
Wishing you a successful Lenten season, and may it be your best so far.
Have a week full of celebration.
Your Vicar and friend
The Revd. Kiri Wakama