Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Shepastor: A Special Lenten Reflection, “ Turning Around”
Every year somewhere between the February and March, the Christian Church observes the season known as, Lent. Originally, Lent was a time of preparation for Easter baptism. Those preparing to be baptized would fast and pray. The climax of the season came with an all-night vigil of Easter Even with baptism, confirmation and celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. Lent also was a time for all members of the church community to repent of and mourn for sin. The forty weekdays of Lent represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness during His Temptation. According to Matthew and Luke, He fasted for forty days.
During Lent, the church of today continues to focus upon the themes of repentance, forgiveness and restoration. A few weeks back we observed Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. The ashes are made from the burned palms from the previous Palm Sunday. In the Christian Tradition, the ashes are blessed and then the pastor, using the ashes, makes the sign of the cross upon the foreheads of the repentant. The ashes symbolize repentance. The idea comes from the Old Testament times when mourners clothed themselves in sackcloth and sprinkled their heads and faces with dust or ashes.
Job said, “Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:6). Jesus declared, “Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Siden, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” (Information obtained from, Symbols of Church Seasons & Days, by John Bradner)
While the ashes symbolize repentance, let us remember that outward symbols without inward transformation is unacceptable in the sight of God. To repent means to literally, “turn around,” or to “turn back.” In today’s Shepastor, we reflect upon a Christian writer’s message regarding going in God’s direction. Read on and be blessed…
We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. We have all seen this when doing arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start over again, the faster I shall get on. There is nothing progressive about being pigheaded and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistakes. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on. End Quote
There is no shame in turning around, if that is what is necessary to get us moving forward in the right direction. Do you need to turn around? Do you hear the Lord speaking and saying, “Turn back my child, that is not the plan I have for you.” Don’t allow pride and the fear of human reprisal or judgment to block you from God’s best. If you are headed down the wrong road, obey God, return to “that place” where you first heard God’s message. God will restore, renew, refill, recharge and advance your life and ministry – praise His holy name!
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Until next Wednesday
In faith, hope and perseverance,