We have lived through the first month of the “New Year” so that 2021 looks now, like just another year to travel with God.
Now we travel through the liturgical period of “Ordinary time”- a break between Epiphany and Lent, a period which will continue after Pentecost. During the Season of Epiphany, we continue to reflect on the appearance of God in Jesus through such events as his baptism; his calling of and revelation to the disciples; his ministry of miraculous healings and deliverance from demons; and his transfiguration. When we resume ordinary time, we shall ponder again God’s activity in the ordinary things of life. But we shall take a break starting 17th of February, Ash Wednesday, the start of the Penitential Season of Lent, when we deliberately pay greater attention to practical spiritual disciplines such as fasting.
Last year, we covenanted to enter Lent with a period of fasting, with persons sharing in a Daniel Fast, as they are able. The idea is to take a break from some of the things like food that we ordinarily feast on, and rather to feast on God. This year, you will receive a prayer schedule, so that we can all be praying together with a common purpose.
Given our District theme Trusting God in Difficult Times: Transforming Obstacles into Opportunities’ there are two things that I invite you to put on your priority list for Lent, as we seek to trust God in giving and in sharing.
- One is Faith-sharing. In this time of uncertainly, one thing is certain. If we are anchored in God, we shall be sustained, and even triumph in the difficulties we face. How about sharing faith through inviting your friends and acquaintances to church? Their participation now is easier since they do not have to pay the transportation costs but can join in worship from home. Concerns about being dressed appropriately will not arise. This is the best time to invite others to worship. They have the option of leaving the gathering without any disruption should they choose to, so why not ask them to join. I ask you to invite others to the Dutch language services especially, as we can also reach those who prefer to worship in that language. Based on the response, we may be able to cater for a whole new online church that worships mainly in the Dutch language.
- My second appeal to you is to consider tithing for Lent. “Give one tenth during Lent.” The church’s (MCCA) position on tithing is captured in a position paper posted on the website. Give tithing a try, and note the effect it has, not just on your wallet, but on your life; and then you can decide from there. We may just find that in a season of economic hardship, we begin to see God’s wonderful transformation of our financial situation. Let us resolve to trust God for this.
One more observance that falls in February is, as usual, MCCA Men’s Lord’s Day observed on the fourth Lord’s Day of February, every year. Let us show our support for the active men in our congregations, and let us also use the opportunity to invite the men who are not actively involved to participate in the life of the church. I invite each man to bring another and each class to bring an additional male. If we act on this together, there will be more men, and the truth is that we do need more males sharing in the service of the church.