As we begin our Lenten journey today I remind you of the words from our Ash Wednesday Service liturgy that comes to us as an invitation…
“I invite you then to observe Holy Lent:
by self-examination and repentance;
by prayer, fasting and self-denial;
and by reading and meditating on Holy Scripture.”
The intention being that we use this period of 40 days to examine self and respond to God. Often that begins in confession and receiving God’s mercy, allowing new spiritual growth as the Holy Spirit fills us and grows us.
We commit to doing one or a number of things to heighten or increase our awareness of faith and give opportunity for God to work in us. This may take many forms and include many activities and here are some suggestions:
- Fasting in some form or another (a meal or a day a week; giving something up for the period of lent, coffee, tea, chocolates, meat.)
- Committing to something (a regular prayer time; offering time to a charity; reading a spiritual book; regular period of silence and/or prayer.)
In whatever you choose to do, the aim is to draw you closer to God. Give you increased awareness of His presence in your everyday life. Remember God is in all things and is ever-present so use this opportunity to realise and experience His presence.
We as a church have traditionally removed decorations and flowers from our churches during the period of Lent. This reminds us of the stark reality and barrenness of death on the Cross. This, in turn, drives us to look inward and see what is causing pain, struggle and death in our own lives. It gives us opportunity to address that through confession, receiving God’s mercy and then allowing His spirit to bring new growth and new life.
The powerful paradox of Lent is that we focus on ashes, Ash Wednesday, death and mortality but from there we make our way towards an empty tomb, the promise of resurrection and new life.
Enjoy your Journey.
I invite you to meditate on the following Psalm…
Psalm 51 – A Prayer for Forgiveness
1 Be merciful to me, O God, because of your constant love. Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins!
2 Wash away all my evil and make me clean from my sin!
3 I recognize my faults; I am always conscious of my sins.
4 I have sinned against you—only against you— and done what you consider evil.
So you are right in judging me; you are justified in condemning me.
5 I have been evil from the day I was born; from the time I was conceived, I have been sinful.
6 Sincerity and truth are what you require; fill my mind with your wisdom.
7 Remove my sin, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness; and though you have crushed me and broken me, I will be happy once again.
9 Close your eyes to my sins and wipe out all my evil.
10 Create a pure heart in me, O God, and put a new and loyal spirit in me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence; do not take your holy spirit away from me.
12 Give me again the joy that comes from your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach sinners your commands, and they will turn back to you.
14 Spare my life, O God, and save me, and I will gladly proclaim your righteousness.
15 Help me to speak, Lord, and I will praise you.
16 You do not want sacrifices, or I would offer them; you are not pleased with burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God; you will not reject a humble and repentant heart.
18 O God, be kind to Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifices and with our burnt offerings; and bulls will be sacrificed on your altar.