Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lent Meditation 1

Lent season this year began on Ash Wednesday (March 9). I would like to share my thoughts from the meditations over the past 4 days from the booklet produced by the Trinity Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Malaysia. I would like to do this every few days. I believe the lessons and suggestions will help us as we journey through our lives.

Lent is about self examination and doing what is necessary to unbuckle ourselves from our erring ways and making an effort to return to the right path. Like a ship that has veered off its course the master has to reset its direction. Sometimes we got sidetracked so much that to restore our life would require major efforts and sacrifices, even giving up whatever we acquired wrongfully over the past year. Nonetheless a wrong is a wrong and confessing it and having the desire to correct ourselves is half the victory won. Lent has this purpose in mind and to Christians and non-Christians alike, looking at the common values would benefit us as a human race. Somehow we have become less civilized. We have become less polite, less considerate, less courteous, and more selfish as we pursue more of what we want instead of what our human race deserve.

We want change for the better. This is our conscious desire. Sometimes in pursuing this we make use of people. We worship success as if it is all that matters in life. We honor ourselves in what we do publicly. Such as when we give toward charitable causes we want to blow our trumpets or at least let our families, our neighbors, our friends know. It feel good, but it nullifies the purpose of giving since it has become a means to glorify ourself. True charity should be a secret. Can we give anonymously? It will be a true test of our motives of helping others.

Just like charity, when we pray or fast, do we likewise put on a show? Examine why and whether we have hijacked these acts for ulterior motives that are less honorable.

How about exchanging our souls for wealth, power, pleasure and prestige? It is easily done because we seldom see our souls as important to be saved since we may not even be aware they exist in us! Seriously, when we bargain away what are morally right for the 'things of the world' we have sold off our souls. This is a serious thought to ponder since the souls continue to live after we die physically and we will be unable to reclaim them even by giving up 'our things of the world' which would have been passed on to our benefactors. Think of the dire consequence. Also think of this: doing good will not guarantee our souls will live happily after us. If you are familiar with the story of Lazarus and the rich man in the Bible you know that there is no going back to rectify a wrong. It will do well therefore to set a high conduct of our life to secure a life for our soul that live beyond us.

What is a fast? I confess I find it hard to fast but I agree that fasting is good. People who fast for the right reason usually come out with better attitudes, and possibly healthier too! A fast is meant to slow us down to force the world into the background and to bring our spiritual life to the fore. When we fast we begin to see in sharper focus what God has done for us, and what we need to be doing to claim a right relationship with him. In fasting we become stronger in battling our sins and confronting temptations. Fasting also help deal with immoral living and help us turn away from them. When we fast our bodies but we feed our souls. Think about this.

Do we admit we are sick although we are well? All of us are sick but may not be aware. We may be physically well but our souls need regular care. We spend money keeping our appearance young and beautiful but we often forget our inner self, our souls, too need to be 'dressed up'. If we are honest we would confess that we are spiritually sick and the 'virus' that harms us are our many sins. No one can admit that he is without sin. Lent is a time to seek spiritual healing. The medicine is not the drugs prescribed for the bodies but our confession of sins committed and our repentance over them, renouncing them and putting them away and asking for strength to avoid repeating them. Jesus is our spiritual doctor. He alone provides the cure that save our souls from eternal damnation.

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