Pastoral Perspectives

Lent: A Time Of Preparation

From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, the 40-day period symbolises Christ’s stay in the wilderness.

A time when we deliberately remember, proclaim and respond to the atoning death of Christ.

Remember Christ’s temptation, suffering and ultimate sacrifice.

Purple, the colour of royalty, reminds us of the Servant King who came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Proclaim the good news! Walk across the room. Seize opportunities. Partner the Spirit.

Shout it from the roof top. Live it out in quiet ways.

We can respond in different ways …

A time of soul-searching, a time to re-examine our lives, take stock of life’s situation, set right what has gone wrong, and take preventive measures so as not to repeat the same mistakes.

We reflect on our own offence – a frighteningly evil heart, mixed motives, hypocrisy, double standards, unforgiveness, revenge, lust, envy, greed, pride, selfish ambition – what wretchedness, what depravity!

We mourn.

We are overwhelmed by the cost of our pardon, our forgiveness, our freedom.

So undeserving. Gratitude.

Draw closer to Jesus through prayer, confession, repentance, surrender.

Unrepentance means ungratefulness of the highest degree.

True repentance is characterised by fruits of repentance.

A deepening realism about the cost of discipleship.

Deny Self. Carry Cross. Follow Me.

Jesus’ journey towards the cross becomes our model.

The humility and obedience of our Saviour inspires.

Amazing grace motivates.

We are disciples. We are followers. But are we really following?

How does our Calvary look like?

Calvary baffles. A most cruel form of execution – so much gore, agony, pain!

There is so much death around us, so much suffering, so much pain, so much injustice.

We cannot understand. We look to the cross. He understands. He agonises, a man of sorrow who is most familiar with sufferings.

He empathises.

But is he too powerless to do anything? Or does he not care?

Power lies in how defeat is turned into victory, weakness into strength, curse into blessing.

If we ever doubt, look to the cross again. The most unjust death leads to the crushing of the serpent’s head, the tearing of the temple’s curtain into two, the salvation of human kind.

God has his way of turning suffering on its own head.

Do not despair. Do not fret. The cruel cross brings hope into our sufferings.

Holy Week, the week running up to Resurrection Sunday, is the climax of Lent.

Easter, the climax of the climax!

He is risen! He is alive! He is God!

Rejoice in the Lord, and I say it again!

From the cross to the empty tomb.

Sufferer is vindicated. Sorrow leads to celebration. Power of death is overcome. Bondage of sin is broken.

We fight from victory. We do not fight for victory. Victory has already been won. Victory is ours.

Abundant life. Eternal life. Life with God.

Reflect daily on the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the meaning of His death on the cross, and the immensity of God’s love for you.

Pastor Kien Seng

March 16, 2014