Season of Lent

Season of Lent

Even now… return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning” Joel 2: 12

The Season of Lent is an important period in the Christian calendar. This Lent period was used to prepare the new believers for Baptism on Easter. These forty days (excluding the 6 Sundays), beginning from Ash Wednesday to the Holy Saturday, are days of fasting, prayer and about learning the basic truths of the Christian faith for many catechumens of the early church. This season has been passed on to us by the Church for our own spiritual benefit.

Many question the observance of lent by asking whether it is prescribed in the Bible. In the book of Joel, God summons His people to return to Him with fasting and weeping and mourning. Thus, the takeaway for all of us from this narrative is that this time of intense self-examination is a real boost to our spiritual life. These days could be used exactly for this noble purpose. When we question a useful tradition of the Church, we destroy the strong historical link we enjoy unbroken from the early Church.

Lent is also a time of preparation which leads us to meditate on the events on the Cross and the empty tomb. How else can we learn to appreciate the sacrifice of the Son of God, other than sacrificing on our luxuries and lavishness of this worldly life for a short while? Lent is a time of reflecting on the life of Jesus and understanding the purpose behind His coming. Extended time of prayers would lead to humble submission in His hands and fasting would help us to deny some of our favourites to remind us of how Jesus left his heavenly glory to die for us in this world – making this Season of Lent a spiritually beneficial time.

This is an open invitation to join the believers of Jesus worldwide to spend time with God for our own spiritual benefit. This is an opportunity to participate with the local believers in special prayers to grow as one in the body of Christ. This is a time to grow in the Lord through the spiritual disciplines of fasting and prayer. Let us follow Joel’s instruction, “Rend your heart, and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God.” (Joel 2: 13).

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Day 196

by Rev Joel Yong

Isaiah 25:1-5
O LORD, you are my God. I will highly honor you; I will praise your name. You have done miraculous things. You have been completely reliable in carrying out your plans from long ago. You have turned cities into ruins, fortified cities into piles of rubble, and foreigners’ palaces into cities that will never be rebuilt. That is why strong people will honor you, and cities ruled by the world’s tyrants will fear you. You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rain, and shade from the heat. (A tyrant’s breath is like a rainstorm against a wall, like heat in a dry land.) You calm the uproar of foreigners. The song of tyrants is silenced like heat that is reduced by the shadow of a cloud.

God is awesome in His power.
Fortified cities?
Reduced to rubble.

God is amazing in showing grace and mercy.
Poor and outcast?
He says “Come on in. You have a place at My table.”

No wonder Isaiah says “I will highly honor you. I will praise your name.”
Dictators in our world feed their people with propaganda and forces them to line streets and wave flags as their leader passes by in a limousine. They do this even if there is little evidence that the dictator’s rule has prospered the nation.
They shout his name, chanting it repeatedly.

But in contrast God is actually, not just a savior, but THE Savior of the universe.
He has repeatedly humbled armies and even empires. (Check out Ezekiel’s prophecies and compare them with historical records of what happened later.)
He has repeatedly shown grace and mercy to the outcast, the forgotten and even His enemies. The gospels alone are replete with accounts of Jesus’ treatment of such.

So yes He is worthy to be praised.
Not just on Sunday.
Not just on good days.

Everyday.