From The Manse

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THE SEASON OF LENT 2022

Dear Friends,

We are now in the season of Lent. It is a season which coincides with springtime and the rebirth of nature and new life.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts for forty days. It culminates at Easter when we remember Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.

Forty is a reminder of the forty years the people of Israel wandered in the desert in search of the Promised Land. The forty days and forty nights of the storms and floods told in the story of Noah’s Ark remind us of the purification and new life brought about by water. But most of all, it is the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before his public ministry which set the pattern for Lent. There he was tempted as he struggled to understand what he was being called to do and who he was called to be.

The lessons for us are obvious. We are all on a journey – the journey of life itself. It is a journey of discovery as we learn more about the world and ourselves. For Christians, the journey has another dimension. It is also a journey of faith in which we seek to have a deeper relationship with God in and through Jesus Christ, the one in whom God has revealed Himself to us.

It is easy to get distracted and confused on our journey. Life confronts us with making choices and following directions which can appear to be right for us, yet they do not always bring fulfilment and happiness. Instead, they can cause us to lose our bearing, to drift away from God and to wander from the path set before us by Jesus, the path of suffering and of obedience, the path of service and charity, the path that ultimately leads to life in all its fullness.

In Lent, people often give up something like eating chocolate or drinking alcohol or using social media. While such an exercise can be a good discipline, I believe that Lent provides us with an opportunity to do some self-reflection, to think about our faith and our commitment to God. It also affords us the opportunity to consider our attitude to others, particularly those in need and whose journey through life is hampered by sickness, poverty or conflict.

In Psalm 46 verse 10 we find these words, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’

Can I suggest that we take time each day in Lent to reflect on these words, to consider who God is and to marvel at what He has done for us and the world through Jesus Christ.

Can I also suggest to you that we reflect on the words of Jesus that are found in Matthew Chapter 25 verses 35-36;

‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

These words remind us that as we put others before ourselves, and support those who are vulnerable, we actually minister to Jesus, the servant king who gave his life that we might live.

Every blessing for Lent,

Your friend and minister,

Gary

The Rev Gary J McIntyre

St Ninians Old Parish Church.