The Rector’s Weekly Letter to the Congregation for Sunday, March 1, 2020
The Season of Lent
This is the first Sunday of the Season of Lent in 2020. Lent started on Ash Wednesday, February 26, and will end on Maundy Thursday, April 9. The season is officially said to last for 40 days, but actually, it lasts for 44 days and sometimes 45, such as in 2018, and any attempt to reconcile the days to the number 40 has so far failed. Some divines floated the idea that Sundays are not part of Lent because they commemorate the resurrection of the Lord. But removing the 6 Sundays of Lent from the count leaves the number of days at 38. The problem is not solved. So, for now, we will live with things the way they are.
Lent is the season when every believer needs to take serious stock of his/her spiritual life and ask oneself the question, “Where am I in my walk with the Lord?” In the time of the Prophet Joel, for example, life was going business as usual, people buying and selling, and marrying and giving their daughters in marriage, while at the core of the nation there was the corroding rottenness of sin. Whereas the religious services were going on, and sacrifices were being made to God, and so on, yet the people’s hearts were far from God. The people did not heed the calls of the prophets to repent and return to God’s ways. Life was good on the physical side. “Let us, eat, drink, and be merry,” was the mood. Then God did something never before seen: he brought swarms of locusts that devoured the land and brought about unprecedented destruction of vegetation. Everything green was eaten off the ground including trees and shrubs. The nation was jacked out of sleep and was brought to its knees. The people were called on to look at their lives and see how far they had gone from the Lord. Then they woke up and called a solemn fast to correct their relationship with God.
For us, God has spared us a breathtaking catastrophe to wake us up. Instead, he gives us the Season of Lent every year to rouse ourselves to do what needs to be done, namely, make an overall assessment of where we are with Him. May we be jacked out of our religious complacency and put ourselves in new gear in following the Lord.
Suggested Activities for Lent
Please find below a few suggested activities to use or do during this Lent, if you find them helpful to assist you in determining how you will spend the Season of Lent.
- Think about a habit that has kept you from being the person whom God created you to be. Consciously give up that habit for Lent and beyond so that you take a giant step towards becoming ‘the best you’ on the planet for the glory of God.
- Read through the Works of Mercy described in Matthew 25:31-46. Choose an act of service to perform throughout Lent and beyond.
- Start yourself on a journey to learn more about a particular social issue that you’ve been hearing about from afar: racism, immigration, public education, socialism, human trafficking, poverty, abortion, alcoholism, drug addiction, private prisons, etc. Learn the intricacies involved and how you as a Jesus follower could get involved in the solution.
- Read a Christian book. (We have a library upstairs which carries commendable books).
- Get to know your neighbors. Introduce yourself, plan a dinner, or take food to an older person on the block.
- Read through the Book of Acts of the Apostles and note how God himself spearheaded the spread of the message of Jesus with his own strong hand.
- Take on a new Spiritual Discipline in addition to whatever else you’re already practicing. Aim at strengthening your spiritual muscle and thus increase your ability to:
- Receive insight to act correctly as life comes at you
- Hear God’s voice, or your inner voice
- Make better decisions
- Remain centered and unaffected by external events
- Demonstrate moral courage
- Detach from distractions
- Feel inner peace
- Behave unselfishly
- Act with practical wisdom
- Not be swayed by popular but ungodly fads
- Endure hardship
- Forge good habits
- Conquer the worst parts of yourself
- Delay gratification
Spiritual Disciplines include:
- Silence and Solitude
- Submission and obedience
- Stewardship and more.
Spiritual disciplines are trainers in spirituality to lead us to deeper and fuller living away from mediocrity and shallowness. They produce a kind of life that enjoys God more fully and is heavenly minded while at the same time sanctifying the ordinary in everyday life on earth. This kind of life honors God’s sovereignty and is less demanding of God’s blessings.
Have a fruitful Season of Lent 2020.