and ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you the Spirit, who will make you wise and reveal God to you, so that you will know him. I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people, (Ephesians 1:17-18)
On 2nd of March, we are entering the season of Lent. The season of Lent has been likened to a retreat or mission undertaken by the worldwide Church. Over forty days in most of the churches three themes are presented and explored: penance, baptism and the passion of Christ. It is a time when we are encouraged to take time out, to go to our room, close the door and pray to our Father in private (Matthew 6:6).
During last two years, we have been confined to our rooms, perhaps more than we’d like. It has been a lonely experience for us. It has not been possible for us to come together very much as members of the Church community due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The continuing restrictions and our obligation to protect the health and life of others demand of us that Lent 2022 will be quite similar in many ways.
The call to do penance is an ever-present invitation in Scripture. Lent invites us to an inner change of heart; a turning to God; a rejection of all that is evil; an opportunity for us to walk in a new direction.
The season of Lent invites us to renew our dedication to prayer and reflection on the Word of God. This is a good time to renew the practice of family prayer. Covid-19 has caused many in our world to plead for the bare necessities of life. Fasting from alcohol, TV, and the consumption of certain foods are traditional favourite forms of penance for Lent. Maybe we can do something this year, such as supporting our frontline workers or encouraging compliance with public health regulations to protect others. These actions could be undertaken as a form of fasting this year. Whatever you undertake, know that God’s grace and blessing is showered upon you.
Also, during Lent, I invite you to pray for the challenges our parishes are facing, like ongoing decrease in membership due to death and illness of our members, and because of this our funds are also decreasing, and churches are facing lots of deficits. We can also pray for our outreach work and the work of the proclamation of the gospel.
As a new minister in this area, I am exploring the new ways to reach out the people beyond the church walls and for this I am starting the livestreaming of our Sunday Worship Service through social media, i.e., Facebook live and YouTube. Also, I am exploring different ways to reach out the young population in our parishes. For this I need your prayers, support and different ideas.
Pastoral care is very crucial for ministry, and if anyone in our membership would like to have pastoral visits from me, I am very much willing to do so. You can give me a call on 01721 720568 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to bear witness to truth, mercy and love. Lent is always a good time to begin again on that journey. This year, amidst all the suffering and anxiety of so many, I invite you, wherever you may be in terms of your own journey, to take up that ever-present invitation; to turn around and walk with Christ – that, you may ‘see his light, so that you know what is the hope to which he has called you,’.
May the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and remain with you always. Amen
Rev. Aftab Gohar