PASTORAL LETTER TO THE CONGREGATIONS
Sisters and Brothers, my Church family, on behalf of my family and myself, I want to greet you in the precious name of Jesus, our soon coming King. I count it a joy and privilege to address you through this medium, and I do hope and pray that you a prosperous and inspired year 2015 and beyond. The topic for this Quarter is: the importance of Lent
The Lenten season is that forty-day period of the Church year which starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Saturday of Holy Week. It calls the faithful community to reflect on Jesus’ suffering, crucifixion, and death. Following our Lord in his preparation for his Passion, we prepare ourselves on the way of the Cross for full obedience to God. The season of Lent is, therefore, as one commentator put it, a season of “preparation, accompaniment, and journey.” As followers of Jesus of Nazareth, the church finds its life in his sacrifice on the Cross, his victory over evil, chaos, sin, and death, and his restoration of all things through his resurrection, his ascension, and soon return
As followers of our Lord and Savior, it is natural that we would take seriously His path to the cross. Observing Him as He works His way toward Jerusalem, listening to the conversations He has along the way with hurting people, watching as He ministers and serves others and empowers His disciples to do the same.
In the rich history of the church, many have chosen to draw near to Christ in His lonely walk to the cross by giving up something. What a true privilege it is for us to think about what we can remove from our lives for the forty days of lent so that we might be ready to encounter Holy Week in all its tragedies, sorrows, and ultimate joy. Might you consider what the Lord would have you fast from?
We acknowledge the ways we have turned away from God in our lives and we focus on turning our hearts and minds back toward God. Hence the three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These observances help us turn away from whatever has distracted or derailed us and to turn back to God. Giving up something for Lent is ultimately a form of fasting. We can deprive ourselves of some small pleasure or indulgence and offer that sacrifice up to God. We might “give up” a bad habit such as smoking, stealing, lying, lack of commitment, lack of interest in spiritual matters, turn off cell phone during worship; or perhaps you want to turn your cell phone off for a few hours each day and not let it distract you from the loved ones you are with in real time? Find something that works for you, and whatever it is, may it help you to turn towards God in this Lenten Season.
So, as we enter the season of Lent, I am grateful for the Saints who have gone before us, some of whom discovered the blessings of giving up something in Lent, while others grew in their faith by adding a Lenten discipline. No matter what you do during this Lenten season, I pray that God will draw us closer to Him, and prepare us for a fresh experience of Good Friday and Easter. May the peace of the Living God be with you and your love ones!
Rev. Gesner Louis-Charles