The Inside Column 9/3

Posted in: The Inside Column- Mar 09, 2014 No Comments

Good Morning and a very warm welcome to all.

If you are visiting with us today we pray you will feel at home here at St Barnabas. Please make yourself known and feel welcome to stay for tea or coffee after the service.

The season of Lent began this week. Lent is a 40 day season stretching from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day. There are more than 40 days in this period because the Sundays are not counted.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. In nature many things have to wither and decay and turn to ash before new life springs forth. The early church held that before someone could experience the new life of Easter, some of their faults and bad habits had to die away and’ turn to ash’. This also links with the custom of people scattering ash over their heads in sorrow to publicly announce they had sinned and wanted forgiveness.

On this day there are special services highlighting the need for repentance and inviting people to have the sign of the cross marked in ash on their foreheads. (These ashes are usually made from the previous year’s palm crosses or palms from the ‘Palm Sunday’ service.)

Easter is a very important Christian celebration, marking the foundational event of our faith: the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. It is so important that it requires a time of special preparation.

By 400AD the early church had established a 40 day period called ‘Lent’. The word ‘Lent’ comes from the Old English word for spring – literally referring to that time of year when the days lengthen. It has traditionally been a time of self-examination and self-discipline. During the Middle Ages there were strict observances and it became such a burden that many people actually dreaded it!

These days Lent is seen more as a time for strengthening faith and love through developing a deeper understanding of what it is to be a follower of Jesus and how to show this in everyday life. It is still seen as a time of special discipline so many people give up a favourite food or activity; others try to give up old habits while others might take up a new activity or ministry. Lent is also a time when there is a special encouragement to read and study the Bible, either individually or in a group, with the aim of becoming a more faithful follower of Jesus.

God Bless

Philip

 

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