Dear Parish Family,
Lent is known as the time when you give something up for 40 days – coffee, chocolate, TV, smoking, drinking, deserts and if you want to be particularly pious and miserable you give them ALL up!!!
Lent should never be known just as the time you give stuff up. In fact I would suggest we do some reverse psychology. Maybe we should think of something to TAKE UP, which may lead us to giving things up later.
Also, with giving stuff up we know that it is not forever. We do the pious 40 days, but right at Easter Day, whatever it is we gave up, we tend to jump back in there often with MORE intensity than before.
Whatever we do during lent, it should be something that has a lasting spiritual impact on us – something which can begin to transform us and change us forever.
The story I want to point you towards in the scriptures is the story of Josiah. You can find that story in 2 Kings 22 and 23. Josiah became King of Judah at 8 years of age. When he was 18 he initiated some renovations of the temple. During these renovations, the workman discovered the book of the law. Scholars suggest that Israel had been without the book of the law for 57 or more years. That is, they had been practicing the ways of God from memory, from others memory, changing, adding, adjusting. It had gotten Judah into a mess and on the verge of judgement.
Josiah heard the law and realized that they were so far from what God had asked them to do. They had prayed, they had meditated, they had done worship in the temple but now, with the discovery of the law, they realized that what they were doing was not right or good and they had to change.
They discovered something that was lost and it changed how they lived.
Our prayer life; our worship, both individual and corporate; our daily routine in the world, are all dependent upon what God has spoken and we find what God has spoken in his word, which is why I want to encourage us this Lent to take up the bible afresh.
The issue is not that you managed to have a 20 min quiet time each day, or that you read so many chapters of the bible – that is just a routine. The issue is WHAT we read and how THAT effects HOW we live. You could read for 5 mins and be completely blown away by what you read and it can change your life. You could read for 30 mins and walk away happy that you read the Bible but it having NO effect on your daly life.
Take UP that which is the foundation of what we are as Christians – to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the words of God, and it will transform how we live, pray and worship.
Let’s not be people who think we know what the Bible says, but be people who KNOW what the Bible says.
May the Lord bless you all!