Message from the Manse - Lent 2022

  1. Friends,

As we journey through life, whatever we encounter will always remain with us. Therefore, we must take each day as it comes as a gift from God.

Our spiritual journey on lent this year?

Lent is a Christian annual period that starts on Ash Wednesday lasting for 40 days (not Including Sundays) representing the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. These 40 days period for Christians is a time to reflect, fast, and give penance in preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord on Easter Sunday.

Lent is the Old English word for spring. In almost all other languages, Lent’s name is a derivative of the Latin term Quadragesima or “the forty days.” Lent, often called the Lenten season, is observed in spring, when the days begin to get longer. This year lent begins on 2nd March and ends on 14th April 2022.

Preparation for Lent starts on Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. In the past it was a long, strict religious fast when people have to give up all 'rich' food, luxuries and practice self-discipline. Christians put aside more time to prayer and generous acts.

There are many ways to do this, perhaps taking part in a Lent study group, reading a book for your spiritual growth, setting aside time to pray at home or work breaks. Whatever discipline you choose, it is your 'heart' that matters rather than the outward form. Jesus said a tree is known by its fruit. The outward expression of our faith and the discipline we practice will be a sign of how seriously we are taking the Lenten season. Shall we take a moment to reflect on the following true story in 1892.

 An 18-year-old student was struggling to pay his fees. He was an orphan and not knowing where to turn for money, he came up with a bright idea. He and a friend decided to host a musical concert on campus to raise money for their education.

They reached out to the great pianist Ignace J. Paderewski. His manager demanded a guaranteed fee of £100.00 for the piano recital. A deal was struck and the boys began to work to make the concert a success.

The big day arrived but unfortunately, they had not managed to sell enough tickets. The total collection was only £40.00. Disappointed, they went to Paderewski and explained their plight. The boys gave him the entire £40.00 plus a cheque for the balance £20. They promised to honour the rest at the soonest possible.

'No' said Paderewski. 'This is not acceptable'. He tore up the cheque, returned the £40.00 and told the boys: “Here’s the £40. Please deduct whatever expenses you have incurred. Keep the money you need for your fees and just give me whatever is left”. The boys were surprised and thanked him profusely. It was a small act of kindness but it clearly marked out Paderewski as a great human being.

Why should Paderewski help two people he did not even know? We all come across situations like this in our lives. Most of us only think 'if I help them, what would happen to me?” Others may also say, 'If I don’t help them, what will happen to them?' They don’t do it expecting something in return. They do it because they feel it’s the right thing to do.

Paderewski later went on to become the Prime Minister of Poland. He was a great leader, unfortunately when the World War began, Poland was ravaged. There were more than 1.5 million people starving in his Country and no money to feed them. Paderewski did not know where to turn for help. He reached out to the US Food and Relief Administration for help.

The head of the US Food and Relief Administration was Herbert Hoover. He later became the US President. Hoover agreed to help and quickly shipped tons of food grains to feed the starving Polish people.

A calamity was averted and Paderewski was relieved. He decided to go across to meet Hoover and personally thank him. When Paderewski began to thank Hoover for his noble gesture, Hoover quickly interjected and said, 'You shouldn’t be thanking me Mr Prime Minister. You may not remember but several years ago you helped two young students go through college. I was one of them'. The world is a wonderful place. What goes around comes around!

Hospitality and radical hospitality are the essence of the gospel. Let us really get to know people and assure them that their stories are important. A welcome begins with the advertising, the noticeboard, the banners. It continues with a smile, the helpful person at the door and then the meeting for coffee, a meal in a home, a church meal, making everyone welcome, could change the image of our church. 

I throw in the challenge!

I hope you would take the opportunity to reflect what you could do for the West Horsley Methodist Church in making our presence more effective in the community. 

The Scriptures for my reflection during Lenten time have always been Psalm 51, Isaiah 58 and Matthew chapters 5, 6, 7. I hope you can share with me to explore these readings for the 40 days. Whatever we do as Lent depicts, let us do it in moderation.

I pray that your Lenten journey would be meaningful and special and that you will be renewed in your faith and enthusiasm for God’s word and helping people.

Thank you, and God bless your home.




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