Tag: Lent

“Don’t Fast From Me“

Lent Day 3

The world is a Messy Place. We all have a hand in its mess. One afternoon last week, I came home after a midweek Morning Service in church, I had so much to do, but didn’t. I could only sit and weep, inwardly. Someone I had spoken to that morning had been so hurt (not by me, I am glad to say) that he a grown man, about my age had exploded in anger, anger with tears in his eyes.

The person who had caused the hurt had no idea, that a thought she had for good reasons, would have caused such hurt. She is herself caring for a close relative, a relative who is terminally ill. So offence taken and deep hurt felt … over what in actual fact was, a good thought and decision made for the good of many, by another hurting soul. The many included the man himself. I cried for his hurt, I understood totally the friend who had made a good decision and the reasons for that decision.

I cried because life can be so messy, painful, for misunderstood motives for the hidden things of the heart.

Hearts are unreadable. Even our own hearts can deceive ourselves. Satan our enemy can take the best of our thoughts and twist and bend them to suit his own purposes, hurt and bad feelings in the Body of Our Lord Jesus.

Yes Christ loves us, cherishes us as His very own self. Yes we know we should love one another. Yes, a big positive yes from me here, we do in all truth love one another… but our enemy, the chief Mess Maker takes our good intentions, our best thoughts and turns them, bends, twists and throws them in our paths as stumbling blocks of the first magnitude.

Part of Lenten Discipline is fasting. Many things are fasted from these days, one friend has given up her beloved Facebook; she reckons that , for her, is more difficult than to give up food.

What we should not give up is Prayer

Neither should we give up watching our own hearts. We should be careful and guard against such sneaky things as envy, because you know, envy can be the catalyst for anger, it can be the self-held knife that we use to produce the cuts to our pride that produces our hurt. Our hurt can in turn produce more hurt, more sin, more mess

I saw, a vision of paint, thick oily paint, daubed everywhere around town, the doors, the window sills, the walls, the people, and to be honest the most skilled of artists would have had an impossible job in discerning the pigments that those colours were mixed from! And once mixed they cannot be unmixed… they must simply wait to be erased, removed… it took the Wisdom, Love and Grace of Almighty God to clear up Humanities mess, in the Coming, Sacrifice and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why the title of this post?

In a time of stillness and calm, when I could hear clearly and not miss His Word … this was the Lord’s Whisper to me.

“Don’t fast from Me. Do not refuse my food, the Bread I offer to you!

Jesus is the Bread of Life, the unleavened Bread of Truth; stillness, quietness are the room, unlocked with the key of prayer where once admitted, He can through the Holy Spirit begin to cleanse our heart, order our thinking and use us, as clean instruments in cleaning up what remains of the World’s big mess, yes God has left some mess here, just for us, so that in teaching us how to tackle it, He can bring the work He started in us when we said Yes to Him, in the person of the Lord Jesus to perfection in the Day When the secrets of all hearts are made known and the Victory of the Cross plainly revealed.

May all the blessings of a Holy Lent be ours.

And all the Glory and Praise to God alone. Through our Lord Jesus Amen

Image: Bread baked baked by Brother Amos SSF

“Listen to Him…”

Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely
Think about such things
Philippians 4. 8-9

Lent, so I heard comes from an old English Word which simply means Spring. The plants are waiting to be planted out in the garden, they were a gift, and they are lovely. Spring is lovely, everything that our Good Lord made is lovely, and in my simple understanding, give the Creator as much delight as the day He made them.

Ash Wednesday means the flowers will be absent from churches such as mine, missing until Easter Day, when the Lilies will trumpet the Resurrection. Today’s Gospel Reading, Matthew 17. 1-9 tells of the revealing of the Lord Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah on a mountain top, it tells of the awestruck Peter, James and John, catching a glimpse of whom Jesus the Messiah really is, in the company of Moses and Elijah… there are so many learned thoughts expressed about this message, so many noteworthy and praiseworthy Bible Teachers have written many, many pages, many books, I am sure that many wonderful words have been published today on WordPress… I cannot add to them, and I would not wish to take away from them, I just feel in myself that this portion of Scripture together with the words of Peter (2 Peter 1. 16-end) very appropriate for all Christians who will keep the season of Lent… straight from the Father’s Glory as Peter puts it, they heard;

This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!

Peter, eyewitness to this revelation of Christ’s glory, reminds us that we also have the witnesses of the Prophets, which must pay attention to as a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in our hearts. I cannot think of a more perfect way to put it… to keep a “good Lent” is to listen to the words of Christ and of the Prophets, if there is anything amiss with our hearts thinking, God waits to redirect us back into the right path, the Way, which is Jesus.

Finally, brothers or sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. (These are the words of Paul) whatever you have learned, or received or heard from me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Whoever is reading this, I pray God’s shalom resound in your hearts and in my heart as we turn over the pages of the Holy Scriptures together as we listen….

Absorbeat

May the power of your love, Lord Christ,

Fiery and sweet as honey,

So absorb our hearts

As to withdraw them from all that is under heaven.

Grant that we may be ready

To die for love of your love,

As you died for love of our love. Amen

Lent is late arriving this year, so by the time Easter arrives there will be no daffodils to adorn the church window sills, and the crocus which reminds me of the purple Lenten Frontals will soon have tucked itself out of sight until next spring.

Our old churchyard is decked out with crocus, daffodils, snowdrops right now, but the Bluebells are heads up, and the dark green shoots of wild garlic can be scented right now, although their buds cannot be seen just yet. I guess that by Easter the Eastern side of the churchyard will be a blue and white carpet, Bluebells and Garlic intermingling beneath the trees.


There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under the heaven’

Sitting at a craft table, painting small stones with the mums of the youngsters who were happily riding toy cars up and down the length of our Church Hall, I was asked,

“What are you giving up for Lent?”

Without waiting for a reply, my questioner, told me she was giving up chocolate. Hardly original, but then, most people who have no Church background have a vague sort of idea that giving up chocolate for Lent is what is done in Lent, and indeed, what Lent is all about. I tried to explain a little of what Lent was, and she was astonished to learn that pancakes on Pancake day were a tradition from early times to use up eggs and fat, etc. Soon three or four were chattering away, genuinely surprised that there was so much more than chocolate involved, and so much more to this mysterious Lent, than they had heard about.

“You know, I love just sitting still and being creative like this. I loved being away from home with my husband last weekend. We don’t get to see each other, and talk together that much, it’s all work, we work different times; and it’s all mobile phones and stuff that takes up all your time before you know it, you only intend to spend ten minutes on Facebook and next thing you know, a couple of hours have gone…” the first Mum said, then another joined in with a similar observation, life is too full, to busy, to chaotic and frantic. Where could God possibly get a word in edgeways, where was there time?

I wonder what Saint Francis, would make of chocolate, mobile phones, and Facebook and how would he explain Lent and Easter in days such as these?

How do we persuade people to pick up a Bible, let alone a prayer book? How do we even begin prayer conversations, when there is just no time?

“I need your tongue” Jesus once said to me.

My tongue, your tongue may be just what the Lord needs to get a word in edgeways,

And one thing more. The Lord Jesus needs our love, that His love working through us, speaking louder than words, may invite young and old, men and women, poor and rich, simple and wise to sit down in His shade, to come to His table and taste the Bread of Life. Come, taste and see how good the Lord is.

It is not so much what we give up for Lent but what we take up. All are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb: He needs many to deliver the invitations.

Lent is not a time for keeping silence.

Lent is a time for speaking.

Lent is a time for both sowing and reaping, Jesus says,

Well, I tell you, look around you, look at the fields; already they are white,ready for harvest! Already the reaper is being paid his wages, already he is bringing in the grain for eternal life, so that sower and reaper can rejoice together.”

Whatever you give up or take up this Lent, I pray that you also will know the power of His love, fiery and sweeter than honey. Amen.

Absorbeat is a prayer attributed to St Francis of Assisi .(c. 1181=1226)

Scriptures; Ecclesiastes chapter 3, John 4. 35,36

I used New Jerusalem Bible

Tomorrow it’s Lent, tonight it’s laughter

At the end of a busy day, we had our Traditional Shrove Tuesday supper, complete with pancakes in the church hall, there was plenty of fun and laughter, and folk were reluctant to part company – just as it should be – being together, really together, listening, intently to woes as well seeing the funny side of them. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and my church together with thousands more will hold a service of Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes, all who kneel at the altar rail will be marked with the sign of the cross, a big black cross of ash from the burning of last years cross, a sign that we are sorry for the sins that our Saviour carried on Calvary’s Cross.

Somehow we just know that Christ was in the midst of tonight’s supper, he was in the smiles exchanged, present to the man in the wheel chair, present in the waiting on of tables and the preparing of food by older church members who were just pleased to help, to be of service… Sacred as times in church are, there are other ways of waiting on Jesus – other ways of declaring our faith… Perhaps the grace which we said together sums that up, it is certainly food for thought, not just for the season of Lent but every day.

I was hungry: And you gave me food.
I was thirsty; And you gave me drink.
I was a stranger: And you welcomed me.
I was naked: And you clothed me.
I was ill: And you comforted me.
I was in jail: And you came to see me.
Lord Jesus Christ make our Lenten offerings turn us toward all our brothers and sisters who are in need. Bless this table, our good food, and ourselves. Send us through Lent with good cheer, and bring us to the fullness of your Passover.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Send us through Lent with good cheer… Whatever good we do, whatever we give, every little act of kindness done with a cheerful heart, brings us closer to the true Passover and the Breaking of Bread in our Father’s house.

May your Lent be blessed!

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