Lenten Reflections (I)

Pastoral Reflections

The practice of Lent goes back to the early church. We also know that long before it was institutionalized in the 4th Century, the church already had a tradition of fasting in the days before Easter. But did you know that those days of fasting focused on two matters of corporate significance? One was the preparation of converts for baptism at Easter and the other was preparation of those who had been excluded from Communion due to grievous sins to be restored following a demonstration of their repentance.

Even though the kind of publicity given to exclusion and restoration to fellowship is not as common these days, Lent has not lost that characteristic tone of humble penitence and inner reawakening. In fact, over time, emphasis moved from the tiny group of those explicitly excluded from fellowship, to a call for everyone to self-examination and penitence. After all, some sins are hidden from human eyes.

Self-examination is essential to a healthy relationship with God. In penitence, we not only seek forgiveness, we acknowledge our frailty before God. I have known frailty. Seasons such as this pull me back to be more mindful of it and bring it to God… as a husband, parent, pastor, friend, neighbor, citizen, and yes, as a Christian. The times I did not get it right; didn’t say it quite well, acted without having fully understood; doubted; avoided putting myself in the other’s shoes; sought my own will and not the Lord’s; and so forth.

Then the irony! The depth of God’s love. In His love, what matters more is not that we were weak, but that we were willing to bring to Him, all our weakness.
__________________________________________________________________________________________
Donald Nwankwo
The Light of Christ Anglican Church
4000 W. Yale Ave.
Denver, CO 80219