Thought for the Week

The Christian time of Lent was originally a time of fasting, at first this only lasted for two days, the first mention of 40 days is to be found in the Canon of the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325); this would bring the fast in line with other biblical fasts, suggested by those of Moses, Elijah and Jesus himself.

The Lenten fast is a time to consider yourself as you prepare for the celebration of the crucifixion and the rising form the dead of Jesus.

Fasting may well be described as a voluntary punishment to make amends for all that we have done wrong, a time to consider how we can become better people, for other than God there is no one who can change us but ourselves.

Fasting can take many forms, certain meals, or foods may be omitted, all meals may be reduced in size, some will abstain from food altogether, sometimes for a day and more, the choice is up to the person involved. Jesus coupled fasting with prayer and in the lives of the saints the two almost always go together. Fasting is practised by Christians and non Christians and also by those followers of other faiths

The Christian faith teaches that there is the presence of the holy spirit, the spirit of God always around us. God in His great kindness invites us to allow this spirit into our lives and if we do our lives will change. Can this really be true?

Let me tell you a story that was told by Dr. John Hutton; a workman was known by all who knew him as a drunkard and a reprobate – he was converted. His work mates did their best to make him feel a fool. “Surely”, they said to him, “you do not believe in miracles and things like that. Surely for instance, you don’t believe that Jesus turned water into wine?” “I don’t know,” the man answered, “whether He turned water into wine in Palestine, but I do know that in my house and home he has turned beer into furniture!”

The wind blows and we do not know where it comes from, or goes to but we can see what it does. We cannot see the wind, we cannot see the holy spirit, but it is there and during this Lenten time we can come before God to thank Him for all that he gives to us and to ask, to pray, that we may know Him in our lives. Like the man in the story we may not understand how the spirit works; but the effect of the spirit is there for all to see. Surely we cannot disregard a faith which is able to make bad people good

May the peace of God be truly with you this Lenten time and always.

Steve Collis