Lent

Dr. Sachi Nakamura (JCFN Board Member, Christian Books Translator, Spiritual Director)

This year, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 26th. Lent is a period of 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter. It is based on the 40days that Jesus spent in the wilderness. It is a time to prepare for the resurrection of the Lord by meditating on the suffering and death of Jesus through prayer and repentance, and good deeds for atonement. 

 

Traditionally, the church has made Lent as a time of fasting from certain food such as meat or placing other dietary restrictions, or doing good deeds or practicing certain behaviors in moderation. As  Lent approaches, you may start thinking, “what shall I let go of this year? Should it be sweets or SNS?” I think that whether you choose to restrict certain behavior or not is a matter between you and God.  Ruth Haley-Burton at the Transformation Center in Chicago says this: The question we need to ask God during Lent should not be “what shall I let go of this year?” Rather, we should be asking “How shall I repent and how can I return to God from my heart?” and “Which areas in my life have I strayed from God? What practices will help me get back with God?”    

Bible scholar Dr. Ransom Yamazaki says this;

https://1co1312.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/荒野の40日/) (Japanese only)

 

“Lent is a time to remember and identify with Jesus Christ’s experience of spending 40 days in the wilderness.  No matter how we choose to spend this period, the important thing is to deepen our awareness as God’s people and God’s children and to make our lives further rooted in Christ.”

 

Even if you have never done anything special for Lent in the past, maybe you can prepare for the resurrection of the Lord by reflecting on what may be hindering you from loving God and your neighbor, and seeking God’s guidance about it.”  

 

Christmastide

Merry Christmas!
Having been waiting for almost 4 weeks to see a light in the darkness, Christmas has now arrived!  We get to celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus, for the next 12 days.  This season is called “Christmastide.” Christmas is not a one-day event. It starts on the 25th!

All during Advent, we waited.  We waited, with patience and hope, to see a light appear in darkness.

Then the light has come.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. …  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. (Luke 2:11, 15-16)

 

Did you go to “Bethlehem” and see that thing which the Lord had told them about?  How do you want to respond to what you saw there?  How is what you saw there impacting your life today?  How is it giving you strength, hope, and help as you live your own life today?

 

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:6)

…and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:23)

Dr. Sachi Nakamura (Christian Books Translator, JCFN Board Member, Spiritual Director)

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