The Penitential Season of Lent

Sisters and Brothers,

We are entering the Penitential Season of Lent. As I have done in previous years, I invite us to be deliberate in paying greater attention to practical spiritual disciplines. This year, I encourage us to consider especially two disciplines that are critical to our growth as Christian disciples – the practices of sharing faith verbally and of giving materially. Through these ministries of word and of deed, we exercise power to enrich both our lives and the lives of others.

As anti-COVID guidelines are being relaxed, we can anticipate more persons returning to in-person worship services and fellowship events. Without putting anyone at greater risk, we can be more deliberate now about inviting our friends and acquaintances to worship. In this setting, we can encourage them to celebrate the goodness of God as we have been experiencing it through these very difficult times. We can make the necessary preparations to resume Andrews Lord’s Days. But part of this preparation is about our engagement in sharing faith with others, speaking to them about our life with God. Even for those who will not attend in person events, we will continue to livestream worship services, so you can encourage those with whom you share to be part of this. As was true for during lockdown, it still obtains that their sharing can be easier and less costly since they do not have to pay the transportation costs if they join in worship from home. Then we can follow-up with them and discuss faith related issues in a more systematic way.

The other Christian discipline I wish to emphasise is that of giving. All confirmed members vow to support the church financially, to give to the work of ministry, not just of the local church but globally. Let us be reminded of our confirmation pledge.

I pledge myself to join regularly in worship and fellowship with other Christians, to seek for a deeper experience of Christ, to bear witness to him in daily life, to seek to win others for him, to be methodical in prayer and bible study, to be present at and share in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as often as I can, to give a substantial part of my income to his work and to the mission of the church abroad. I promise to be loyal to the Methodist Church, to support it by my prayers and my participation, and to give personal service to my Church and my community in so far as I am able.

Lent is as good a time as we can have to live out or to revive our practice of giving – not infrequently and grudgingly but voluntarily, regularly, liberally and systematically as we are admonished to in 2 Corinthians 9: 6-7.

6 the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Yours in God’s service,
Joan Delsol Meade, Pastor