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8th Mar

2014

Pastor’s Page – March 2014

Making the Most Our of Lent

Since the early centuries the Church has suggested three things that we undertake during Lent, prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is for this reason that the Gospel text for Ash Wednesday every year is Jesus’ advice on prayer, fasting and almsgiving (Matt 6:1-6, 16-18). During Lent we want to pray more, fast and help the poor.

Lent is a time for more prayer. We live busy lives and there is much emphasis on enjoying life but a life without prayer is a life without the joy of the presence of God. If we do not pray we are not Christians at full potential; we are only walking when we could be running. Martha was busy serving when Jesus came but Mary spent time with him and Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41-42) Lent is not only about helping others and doing something, it is also about the type of person that we are. We pray because all goodness comes from God and when we pray we touch God. God is our loving Father who greatly desires us to allow him to be close to us. So we need to pray more this Lent so that we may experience more of the joy of the Lord.

In the past the church put more on prayer and fasting. From the spiritual point of view, fasting symbolizes our dependence on God. It expresses the fact that we really are trying to put God first in our life. The Bible tells us that fasting from food must go together with fasting from what we know is wrong. In other words, when we fast from food it is to be accompanied by a loving and forgiving attitude towards others. To fast this way is to please God by making an effort to forgive those who have hurt us and to not harbor resentment any longer? Why do we keep grudges? Is it because we like to be in control? To forgive, we also need to give up our need to be in control. If we have a problem forgiving someone, we can share it with the Lord and ask his help and grace so that we may forgive. We do not want to live being dominated by past wounds. We need to live in the present, free of the past.

The word “Lent” is an old English word that means “springtime.” May this Lent really be a new springtime in the lives of each of us. Through prayer, through fasting and by forgiving others and not bearing grudges, may we like Jesus in the desert for forty days overcome temptation and be well prepared to celebrate Easter.

Pastor Ralph

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