AS WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF LENT let us bend our knees for “meaningful prayer”. The attitude that one has in God’s presence reflects one’s desire for God.
In Luke 18: 9-14, we see in the tax collector a vivid picture of a penitent sinner. The tax collector was so utterly remorseful of his state of sinfulness that we are told that he dared not look up to heaven; he smote his breast and pleaded with God to forgive him – “a sinner.” All this he declared in the presence of other worshippers. What courage! What humility! And Jesus says, “.. this man went home justified”.
Recognition of our sinfulness, seeking forgiveness and moving on to repentance, in the light of the Cross, is greatly emphasised during Lent. Perhaps, we could re-examine how seriously we take God’s call to “repent”. is warning is sounded throughout the Bible. the plea is to fear God; it is only when we hold God in awe and recognise His holiness that we obey, worship and serve Him.
Do we have the longing for a deep and meaningful communion with our Lord Jesus Christ similar to that He showed whenever He was in prayer? Do we make this our priority or does self come first? If it is the latter, let us repent for not worshipping our Lord and God with our entire being.
Jonah shouted out to the Ninevite people to repent of their sins [we note that the kinds of sins are not mentioned], otherwise they would be destroyed. They listened, believed God’s Word and obeyed; and because they repented, God immediately allowed them life.
So, like the tax collector in the parable, we too must have remorse for our sins; seek the forgiveness of a Holy God and repent. Our daily walk with Christ during this season of Lent will be truly meaningful when our time of prayer is devoted to meeting God.
“Abba, Father, let me be, Yours and Yours alone. May my will forever be, evermore Your own. Never let my heart grow cold, never let me go. Abba, Father, let me be, Yours and Yours alone.”
The Rev James Nagulan is the President of Emmanuel Tamil Methodist Church.
WHAT SPIRITUALITY MEANS TO ME EVERY HUMAN BEING CAN BE SPIRITUAL and hence have a “spirituality”. Scripture declares that everyone is created in God’s “image” and is enabled to know the Almighty.
Abraham was a “friend of God” and Moses knew God “face-to-face”. Through the Cross of Jesus, we who were enemies have been reconciled to God as dear friends. Spirituality, therefore, is not about us, our practices or pious achievements. Rather, it is about our relationship/friendship with God. If you “switch sides” and become God’s friends instead of His enemies, through the Cross, then you develop intimacy with God, which is true spirituality.
It is possible for a human being to refuse to be a spiritual person. Many live only at the purely materialistichedonistic level. This earth is the only reality that is acknowledged and the important thing in life is to make themselves happy always. It is pointless to rise above this level existentially because one has chosen to only acknowledge materialistic reality. Jesus was challenging this mindset when He said: “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4).
Remember St Augustine’s prayer? – “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts will be exhausted and restless until it fi nds its rest in You!” No person will be a complete human being until the shallowness of pure, materialistic thinking is repented of and the discovery of one’s own spiritual potential realised through the reconnection of the Cross. As this relationship grows and deepens, so will one’s spirituality.
Therefore “prayer” is talking to our Divine Friend. Feeding on the “Scriptures” is reading our Beloved’s love letter. “Worship” is to adore our Beloved. “Fellowship” is befriending other human friends of God. “Service” is to do what Knowing how to live purposefully on earth our divine Friend expects of us. Truly spiritual people know how to live purposefully on earth: “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).
No wonder, spiritual people are never afraid to die. They are familiar with the true and living God already. Familiarity with Christ has brought intimacy with God our Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Being at home with the Trinity prepares us for our Eternal Home. For in Heaven, we will finally see the Trinity! Now that is awesome spirituality!