When I was a child, I looked forward very much to Chinese New Year. And today, the child in me is still as excited as ever for Chinese New Year! During this period of festivity, some of us are busy with visitations and invites, which means it is feasting after feasting!
Last Wednesday, was the 1st day of Lent, traditionally observed for 40 days, modelled after Christ’s 40 day fast in the desert, and ends on Saturday, eve of Easter. While we feast in our body for Chinese New Year, Lent is a time for us to feast in our soul.
During this period, we accept invites from family and friends; “Come to my place!” And for Lent, we have this invite awaiting us: “Come to Me.”
Chinese New Year has its fun and stresses! The massive cooking, shopping and visiting. Some of us are swamped and tired out with family obligations and social functions. That pretty much summed up our daily lives too: BUSY. Busyness comes in the form of family responsibilities, work, business, social interest and even with our church ministries! We just have too much on our plate.
We are heavy laden.
Jesus said, “Come to Me.”
He knows our tired soul and the pressure we face. Our daily responsibilities are so often very important to us, needful and urgent. And so the invitation of our Lord takes a back seat.
He knows our struggle with brokenness and falleness. Our desire. Our longing. Our aspirations and ambitions. And He bids us “Come to Me.” Life itself can be demanding, threatening and “looming” over us.
We are tired. We are tired of trying and doing.
Jesus said, “I will give you rest.”
Ruth Haley Barton wrote in her book “Longing For More”:
What I’ve noticed about myself is that when I get too caught up in the constant noisiness of day-to-day activity, my soul becomes numb. The stillness in which the voice of God can be heard never comes. The truth that is born of quietness and expectant waiting is lost in the din of a frantic world. The opportunity to spend my life for a cause that is greater than myself is forfeited when I keep grabbing for things that will give me instant but short-lived gratification.
Lent is a season for us to reflect what our Lord did for us on the Cross. It is a time of self-examination, soul searching and return to God as we prepare for Easter. Lent points to us the Hope of the Resurrection and the day when every tear will be dried and all tired soul, freed. Lent is a season of feasting for our soul!
Here are some suggestions as our response to the Lord’s invite:
- Pray for an increase of awareness for the presence of God in our daily lives.
- Seek forgiveness on thoughts, actions or activities that have hindered our relationship with God.
- As we seek forgiveness from God, forgive someone today.
- Carve out 5 min each morning to pray. In our bulletin for the next 6 weeks, you will find a prayer card with a short Scripture text, a suggested prayer focus and a written prayer as a guide.
Let us feast for the next 40 days – feasting for our souls!
By Amy Ong, Pastoral Staff (YCKC Bulletin 18 February 2018)