Lent to Easter. Where will this journey to take me?
LENT is the period of time from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Historically a period of prayer & fasting in remembrance of the 40days Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by the devil. Luke 4 1 – 13. Now it is less strictly observed and has become a time of reflection, preparation for the passion and death of Jesus. There has been a shift from fasting to ‘giving up something for Lent’. So how as Christians can we make Lent a time of blessing rather than just giving up ’beer & chocolates’ Perhaps by trying some of the following:
Make a special time in your day to take time out to sit before God with a silent mind.
Biblical examples; Moses, Ex. 3. Ex 19. Ex 33 v7. Elijah, 1. Kings 19 v 1-18. Jesus, Mtt. 4. 11. Luke 5. 16. Luke 9.28-36. Luke 22.39-46.
Jesus’ ministry is full of examples. It is our nature to ask for things when we pray, so flip this to allow God to speak instead.
Reflect: Where your relationship is with Him in the faith? Are you stationary or going forward or nowhere?
Reflect: Where are you in service of Him, in your prayer, in the way you live?
Reflect: Give rather than deny. Give some of the time you use for treating yourself to serving others or praying for them. Ref to Simon Rogers article in the Barming Link (March).
Reflect: on what the cross cost Jesus and God the Father. Isaiah 53.v5
Look at the passion and Cross. Reading the accounts in the gospels may help.
Ask God to help you learn from Him and show you how he would like you to use your time with him. Ps 139. 23-24. Jeremiah 29.13, Col.3.15. He gives us peace if we let him Ps 37.7. John 16.33. Leave time for Praise Ps 86.12 -13.
‘Between Friday and Sunday is Saturday. Between death and resurrection is mourning. Between uncertainty and certainty is faith. Between pain and celebration is hope. Between loneliness and community is love’ by Graeme McMeekin. Tear Fund.
EASTER. We treat Easter with eggs, chicks, flowers and joy, rightly so for it is the celebration of new life, hope and salvation. For the first Easter it was a dark gritty time of suffering, violence, grief, bereavement and fear.
Mtt.28.1-10. The women experienced, earthquake, afraid yet filled with joy.
Mark 16.8, trembling and bewildered the women fled.
John 20.10 Mary didn’t see or recognise Jesus standing with her because of her tears.
Luke 24.13 the disciples didn’t recognise Jesus ‘their faces were downcast’
John 20.19, the disciples were in a locked room for fear of the Jews.
Today we look at Easter with hindsight. One of the truths of Easter is that Jesus was with his people in an awful experience, they didn’t know or understand what had happened to him or where he had gone. We have the tremendous assurance that Jesus is with us in the hard scary experiences that are part of life for each one of us as we walk its path. Jesus says ‘Never will I leave you or forsake you’ it is one of the messages of Easter, as well as the joy and assurance of sins forgiven and life eternal after our earthly death. What an amazing message to reflect on. Thanks be to God.
So during the next two months let us walk with Jesus and see where he leads us. We all have different paths to journey, some with rough boulders to climb over, some with a smoother path. Equip yourselves with the things that will help you practically to keep focussed. & the patterns of ways to help you spend time with God. Be active in thought, prayer, and study the bible following up the thoughts and ideas God puts in your mind.
God has a way of linking things up, I had written this letter before I read the March Barming Link, --see Wil’s letter & Simon’s article. Prayer is amazing & encouraging.
Val Eeles (Member of the prayer team and new email contributor!)
Please pray for the Road Prayer Team collecting prayers on Sunday 8th March at 2.30pm from the residents of North Pole Rd. Beechwood Rd. North St (part) Heath Rd. (part) and do think about joining the Lent Bible Course starting this Thursday 5th March 7.30pm Church Cross House