We are now in LENT. Lent refers to a 40-day period. For 40 days, we need to remember Jesus' suffering, pain, death, and resurrection. Lent began on Ash Wednesday, March 6th. Lent is the time from Ash Wednesday to Easter Eve. The reason why the first day of Lent is called "Ash Wednesday" is that in the past, people kept a tradition of putting ashes on their heads as a sign of repentance on this day.
The number "40" is regarded as a symbolic period of suffering and renewal. Jesus stayed in the desert for 40 days. After his resurrection, he visited people for 40 days before he ascended to heaven. During Lent, the Early Churches took time to awaken spiritual awareness to the suffering of Jesus. Especially, fasting has been strictly observed for centuries. Only one meal was allowed during the day, and meat, fish, milk, and eggs were banned. However, it began to ease a lot after the 8th century. We will have a Good Friday service (April 19th) and watch a Christian movie. And we will eat sandwiches and fellowship afterward. One member suggested to me that, since it is Good Friday, we should refrain from eating that day. I said, "fasting is based on each individual's decision, and we don't have to force everyone to fast." One important thing is that during Lent, we must take time meditating on the suffering of Jesus on the cross and the grace of salvation.
There are only 12 days left to keep the Lent. How can you spend your time in a gracious way during Lent? First, live a pure life. Above all, you should have a pure mind. Do not judge others or condemn them for wrong. If you think that you are always right and with that thought, if you judge others wrong, you are guilty of hypocrisy before God. Second, live in the sufferings of Christ yourself. Work with more loyalty to your duties in the church. Humbly serve people who need help. Remember the suffering neighbors, visit them, and serve them best. Jesus did this ministry when he was on earth. Third, read the Bible and concentrate on your prayer life. This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. And next week is Passion Week. How do you plan to spend your time this week and next week? One member asked me if she could come and pray in the sanctuary on Good Friday. I was so happy with her request, and of course, I said she could. We will open the sanctuary on Good Friday. I'd like to encourage you to come, pray, and meditate on the suffering of Jesus and God's grace for you on Good Friday.
I hope and pray that your life will be filled with God's grace and blessings during the Lenten season, as you pray and meditate on God's grace for you.
Rev. Dr. David Choi