22 Feb – 8 Apr 2023
Today is not too late to consider this season of Lent, and to let it have an effect on us individually, as well as a church family
The season of Lent this year marks the 40 days (excluding Sundays) between Ash Wednesday 22 Feb 2023 and Holy Saturday, the day before Easter on 9 Apr 2023. It is traditionally a season of reflection, meditation, fasting and spiritual disciplines, to focus on Jesus Christ and the meaning of His life, suffering, death, burial and also resurrection to us.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph 4:4-6)
But why should this matter? Are seasons in the Christian calendar important? Or are they artefacts of old religion? Should it matter to us as a spiritual family in Kum Yan? The answer is a resounding “yes!” Here are 3 reasons for us to consider why this is so:
It helps us to go lower
Without seasons, we can sometimes have “general faith”. We can be generally thankful for God’s grace for our salvation, provision and protection. We can also go about our lives faithfully serving others and worshipping God in our daily devotion, choices and obedience. But Lent is an invitation to go deeper.
When we make room for reflection, self-denial and repentance, God has room to reveal to us our hearts, and the areas where we have allowed sin or disobedience to hide. (Ps 139:23-24) Our excuses are exposed, and we can no longer put off what the Lord is prompting in our hearts. We are alerted to areas of neglect or compromise, or places where we no longer have faith, and we have lost the will to pray or hope.
Just like the ashes that are received on foreheads on Ash Wednesday, even today at many of our Methodist Churches, Lent invites us to consider our utter dust-like humanity. We come humbly before our God to repent. We are in need of renewal and salvation. We are in need of a Saviour.
It helps us to look higher
Our awareness of our need for God can lead us to welcoming Him once again. When we behold the cross again, we may become aware of the victory that is missing from our “normal” lives. The victory has already been won! (1 Cor 15:57) The work on the cross is finished! (Jn 19:30) Jesus comes to comfort us, but He has also come to reign in us. May we boldly ask for the greater things, and for us to behold Jesus as the one who leads us into triumphal procession! (2 Cor 2:14)
It helps us to look further
Lent and Easter remind us that we are united across the world to the Body of Christ as it points us to the one baptism, and also one Lord and one Faith that we share (Eph 4:4-6). As we ponder during Lent on the implications of resurrection, we quickly realise that we are not only called to a personal salvation, but also into a global family of believers. We share the same saviour and belong to the same Family. We have access to the same new life, and are empowered by the same Spirit. This should encourage us to join our brothers and sisters around the world again to proclaim the gospel of His Kingdom to all nations, even unto His return (Matt 24:14).
Today is not too late to consider this season of Lent, and to let it have an effect on us individually, as well as a church family. May we prepare our hearts, and be ready to joyfully celebrate our King together on Easter Sunday!
By Ps Ian Wong