18 February 2018

Dear Friends,

Today is the first Sunday in the Christian season of Lent - the 40 days (excluding the 5 Sundays) leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  We marked the start of Lent on Wednesday evening with a moving and meaningful Ash Wednesday service where we were able to gather our minds and hearts (thoughts and feelings) around the One who loves us with a love that not only forgives our sin and heals our shame, but also overcomes hopelessness and death. Considering this great love of God for the world, perhaps it was appropriate that Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day this year.

As part of worship we were marked with an ash cross on our foreheads reminding us of the biblical tradition of coming before God ‘repenting in sackcloth and ashes’.  Just as an aside, one of my colleagues sent me this image saying that since it was also Valentine’s Day, we should not mark people’s foreheads with a cross, but with the following J

Ashes serve as a sober reminder that we are made from the dust (ash) of the earth and to dust we will return.  Though the human race has accomplished incredible things over the centuries, we must not allow arrogance or pride to cause us to forget that we are still fragile and prone to self-importance which leads to selfishness and sin.  In the face of our fragility we submit our lives before God and seek his Spirit’s blessing.

In Lent we are encouraged to fast or give something meaningful up in our lives for the 40 days as a reminder of what Jesus gave up for us – his very life.  Fasting is important, but it is not the end in itself of Lent, it is merely a means to an end, which is why I am attracted to the observance of this season.  However we chose to observe Lent, it places our faith in Christ and the reality of Jesus back at the centre of our everyday lives.   

Frankly speaking, as a lifetime follower of Jesus who has experience in these things J, God is easily relegated to the fringes of our lives and the consequence is that we place ourselves at the centre and build little kingdoms for ourselves, whether in our families or in our businesses or even in the Church.  In response to this we need moments of sober judgment where we are reminded that we are nothing more than dust blessed with the image and spirit of God.  As such we should repent of our arrogance and self-importance and return to the One who has given us life and from whom we receive forgiveness and healing for the pains of the past.  Lent gives us just such an opportunity.

For this reason, I would encourage you to participate in the celebration or observance of Lent this year.  It does not matter if you only start today. 

With my love, Chris

 

...We are called and strive to be a Christ centered family that is dynamic, diverse and devoted, serving the wider community, encouraging all people to discover and fulfill their potential in Jesus, living by faith, displaying love and offering hope, all by the grace of God. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
18 February 2018

Dear Friends,

Today is the first Sunday in the Christian season of Lent - the 40 days (excluding the 5 Sundays) leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  We marked the start of Lent on Wednesday evening with a moving and meaningful Ash Wednesday service where we were able to gather our minds and hearts (thoughts and feelings) around the One who loves us with a love that not only forgives our sin and heals our shame, but also overcomes hopelessness and death. Considering this great love of God for the world, perhaps it was appropriate that Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day this year.

As part of worship we were marked with an ash cross on our foreheads reminding us of the biblical tradition of coming before God ‘repenting in sackcloth and ashes’.  Just as an aside, one of my colleagues sent me this image saying that since it was also Valentine’s Day, we should not mark people’s foreheads with a cross, but with the following J

Ashes serve as a sober reminder that we are made from the dust (ash) of the earth and to dust we will return.  Though the human race has accomplished incredible things over the centuries, we must not allow arrogance or pride to cause us to forget that we are still fragile and prone to self-importance which leads to selfishness and sin.  In the face of our fragility we submit our lives before God and seek his Spirit’s blessing.

In Lent we are encouraged to fast or give something meaningful up in our lives for the 40 days as a reminder of what Jesus gave up for us – his very life.  Fasting is important, but it is not the end in itself of Lent, it is merely a means to an end, which is why I am attracted to the observance of this season.  However we chose to observe Lent, it places our faith in Christ and the reality of Jesus back at the centre of our everyday lives.   

Frankly speaking, as a lifetime follower of Jesus who has experience in these things J, God is easily relegated to the fringes of our lives and the consequence is that we place ourselves at the centre and build little kingdoms for ourselves, whether in our families or in our businesses or even in the Church.  In response to this we need moments of sober judgment where we are reminded that we are nothing more than dust blessed with the image and spirit of God.  As such we should repent of our arrogance and self-importance and return to the One who has given us life and from whom we receive forgiveness and healing for the pains of the past.  Lent gives us just such an opportunity.

For this reason, I would encourage you to participate in the celebration or observance of Lent this year.  It does not matter if you only start today. 

With my love, Chris

 

...We are called and strive to be a Christ centered family that is dynamic, diverse and devoted, serving the wider community, encouraging all people to discover and fulfill their potential in Jesus, living by faith, displaying love and offering hope, all by the grace of God.