The Spirit Newsletter March-April 2023

Posted By tumc_admin on Feb 27, 2023 |

From Pastor’s Desk
Lent is a season of the Christian liturgical year that starts on Ash Wednesday and lasts for forty days, excluding Sundays, before Easter. It is a time for reflection, repentance, and renewal, during which Christians often engage in acts of self-denial, such as fasting or giving up certain luxuries or vices.
The practice of Lent originated in the early Christian church as a time for new converts to prepare for baptism, which traditionally took place on Easter Sunday. It was later expanded to include all members of the church as a period of spiritual discipline and renewal. The forty-day duration of Lent is symbolic of the forty days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness before beginning his public ministry.
Throughout history, the observation of Lent has taken on various forms and traditions within the Christian church. In the Middle Ages, Lent was a time of strict fasting and abstinence, with meat, dairy, and eggs being prohibited. Today, many Christians still choose to give up certain foods or activities as a way of focusing their attention on their spiritual lives and their relationship with God.
Lent is a time for reflection, penance, and spiritual growth in the Christian faith. Lent encourages us to cultivate self-discipline and self-control, to break unhealthy habits and patterns of behavior, and to focus on what truly matters in life. It is a time to seek forgiveness, to show compassion and mercy to others, and to live a life of service and generosity.
Reflecting on Lent can be a powerful and transformative experience, as it provides an opportunity to examine our lives, our habits, and our priorities. It is a time to consider the ways in which we may have fallen short in our relationships with God and others, and to make a commitment to change and grow in the year ahead.
Here are some suggestions for Lenten practices that you might find helpful:
• Fasting: consider fasting from something that has become a regular part of your life, such as social media, television, or sweets. This can help you focus on your spiritual journey and develop self-discipline.
• Prayer: make time each day for prayer, whether it’s a few minutes in the morning or evening, or a longer period of quiet reflection. Use this time to connect with God and ask for guidance in your life.
• Reading: choose a book of the Bible or a spiritual text to read throughout Lent. Set aside time each day to read and reflect on what you’ve read.
• Service: find a way to serve others during Lent, whether it’s volunteering at a local charity or simply performing acts of kindness for those around you.
• Reflection: take time to reflect on your life and your relationship with God. Journaling, meditation, or simply quiet contemplation can help you gain clarity and perspective.
Remember, the goal of Lenten practices is not to simply go through the motions, but to deepen your faith and grow closer to God. Choose practices that resonate with you and that you feel will help you achieve this goal. And remember, Lent is a season of grace and mercy, so don’t be discouraged if you stumble along the way. Simply turn to God in prayer and ask for strength and guidance to continue your journey.
Your Pastor, Andrew

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