14 February 2024

Ash Wednesday Service 2024 - "The start of a return journey"

Ash Wednesday Service 2024 - "The start of a return journey"

The Ash Wednesday Holy Communion Service was led by our vicar Rev. Raju Jacob on Wednesday, 14th February, marking the beginning of the Lenten season.

During his sermon, Achen mentioned that Ash Wednesday is the preparation for Lent. It is the start of a return journey, back to the original. It is a call to reinstate our lives (Joel 2:12- 20, Psalm 32, Galatians 2:15- 21, Luke 9:23 – 27). 
(1) RETURN TO GOD - Prophet Joel strongly urges the people to return to God. Sack cloth and ashes were the symbol of repentance in the old testament time. However, Joel reminds that repentance should be sincere, which requires tearing our hearts and not just the legal externals. 
(2) RETURN TO OURSELVES - Self examination is required during lent. As the Prophet Isaiah reminds us, from the sole of the foot to the top of the head, we are covered with open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed (Isaiah 1:6). All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We need to stand before the mirror of God's word, to see what exactly we look like. We need to remember that we are dust and are to return to dust. We are cleaned by God's word spoken to us (John 15:3). May the lenten season help us to make a conscious effort to spend quality time in meditating the scripture. 
(3) RETURN TO OTHERS - In spite of the advancement of technology, there is no heartfelt communication between human beings. The days of lent should inspire us to have communication with compassion and grace. Our charity signifies our love for our fellow beings, as God loved us. 
(4) RETURN TO THE CROSS - We are crucified with Christ and not us, but Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20). This requires denying our "self" and taking up the cross (Luke 9: 23). Paul reminds us that we can boast only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14), and not in our merits or abilities. 
In conclusion, Achen said that this year's Lent should be an opportunity to reset our lives (factory reset, as analogy), to start a new journey with God.

csi parish fujairah

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