This post will summarize the message given on March 5th during the cottage fellowship in Sujith and Soumya's house.
Prayer :help us to meditate on your word. help us to open our hearts and listen to your voice. Amen.Intro :
We are entering the Lent season also known as the Valiya Nombu.. Let us hope and pray that God will help us know more about him today.
Fasting and prayer helps us in many ways. If you are about to take imp decisions .. it is a good time to prepare yourself. It is a good time to meditate and work miracles in your life.
What is lent ?
Lent is a season observed by our church as a time set apart for fasting and prayer and also a time of introspection.
Lent means Spring time (Germanic root for Spring) - which echoes this very truth of new life and restoration for the individual.
History represents the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert before his ministry. This means if you are on a mission and want to achieve some goals, it is good to fast and pray. If you want to bring healing to other people's hearts or if you are crying inside to achieve something, this is the time to cry and pray to God to help you achieve it.
Psalm 35: 1 ... fight against those who fight against me...
Psalm 35:13 But I, when they were sick— I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest
This portion was probably written when David was in distress. Maybe due to Saul.
Two observations in this portion:
He prayed for his enemy - not selfish..
He was fasting when he wanted to help some one.
The Bible lists many instances of Fasting :
Jesus began His public ministry with forty days of fasting and communion with God (Matt. 4:2, Mk 1:13, Lk 4:2)
Moses on Mount Sinai -Ex. 34:28;
Elijah on Mount Horeb 1 Kings 19:8-12
Purpose of Lent - Why Lent:
SPIRITUAL RENEWAL: Spend more time in prayer, meditation and reading the Scriptures studying the Word of God : consciously add an extra 10 minutes you Spend in Bible study.
PREPARE the believer for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ.
INTROSPECTION : A time to look in to your own life and see what changes you need to make
ALMS-GIVING through SELF-DENIAL - Make a difference in the lives of other people
There is a huge divide between rich and poor – soon the poor will have no choice but to rob the rich! You can make a small difference by paying lavishly to your maid at home , or give fat tips to those around you - it is not enough that only you get 20-30% pay hikes, what about the people at home ?
SAKHYAM MEMBERS - Last year we followed the Lent and each member put in Rs 10 per day in to the Lent Collections. This cumulates to Rs 500 per person. Lets do the same thing this time too.
Discipline helps you do things differently, for the better. Making a small change in the way you live by a small sacrifice, brings discipline. Make some change in routine...
It is a time to bring healing to your own hearts and to the life of others around you. Look at this time as a time for Spiritual rejuvenation.
Summarize this as - SPIAD
BIBLICAL EXAMPLES : Why did Jesus Fast ?
Before his ministry :
Spiritual rejuvenation and to pray.
To prepare himself before his ministry.
How to Fast?
Avoid animal products, chocolates, egg etc..
Leave the table as if you could eat a bit more
CARBON FASTING : A concept proposed by the church last year. Talked about in the book Lenten Fasting by Valia Metropolitan. It is important to save the earth from getting polluted. Its focus is on Global Warming. Reduce your contribution of CO2 in to the earth's atmosphere due to using various gadgets or means of transport etc.
For eg. remove a light bulb at home so that, that saves some electricity. That could also remind you of turning of unnecessary lights and save power. Do something that way so that it reminds you to reduce fossil fuel usage. Those with bikes and cars could turn it off at long signals etc.. Think how you can save fuel and reduce carbon emissions.
Here is a para written by Martin Niemoller
First they came for the communist, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist
Then they came for the socialist, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist
Then they came for the Jew, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist
Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak out because I was not a Protestant
Then they came for the me, and there was no one around
spiritual pride. It is good in itself, but also dangerous as it creates an outward piety.
Crux of SPIAD, Rs 10 per day, pray and increase Bible study during this time.
Let me recall the Bible portion we read in the beginning ..
Luke 2:7 ..because there was no place for them, in the inn.
Today Jesus is asking, “Do you have place for me in your hearts ?”
Change my heart Oh God...