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Entering the Season of Lent

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Mark 8:34b

Jennifer, Lilian Kek, myself and a sister from another church will be making a visit to Bee Ngoh's work at Prey Veng in Cambodia this week, from Sunday to Friday. Bee Ngoh has been serving there for almost 30 years now. Though she has retired, she is still overseeing some aspects of the work. While there, we will also fellowship with those who are heading our Anglican ministry. I will share a fuller report after the trip.

Now that we are all together again in one Service, lets continue to adjust and work together to build up this Service. Obviously there will be some pressure on carpark space. Most of us loathe paying for car-parking nearby but it is a psychological hurdle that we need to overcome if we are to make it easier for visitor to join us. Soon, we will need some carpark ushers as they play an important role to as the first point of welcome. Furthermore, our Sanctuary is at the third floor and the way to it not be intuitive for visitors. As the Chinese members are also driving in for their 11 am Service, some of us may need to re-park outside. Again, the carpark fees incurred is worth paying for the time of fellowship and food.

All the little individual efforts we make can lead towards a pleasant, welcoming and positive experience for other members and visitors. Indeed, this is how we may serve others well on Sundays.

Our Ash Wednesday Service will be hosted at St Hilda's Church this week. Participating in this Service will help you to observe the season of Lent. The traditions of Lent are derived from the season’s origin as a time when the Church prepared candidates, or “catechumens,” for their baptism into the Body of Christ. It eventually became a season of preparation not only for catechumens but also for the whole congregation.

Self-examination, study, fasting, prayer and works of love are disciplines historically associated with Lent. Conversion— literally, the “turning around” or reorientation of our lives towards God—is the theme of Lent. Both as individuals and as a community, we look inward and reflect on our readiness to follow Jesus in his journey towards the cross. The forty days of Lent correspond to the forty-day temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and the forty-year journey of Israel from slavery to a new community. Lent will also prepare us for the Holy Week and Easter.

On Ash Wednesday, ashes are placed on the foreheads of the congregation as a symbol that we have come from dust and one day will return to dust. With this sobering reminder of life’s fragility, we begin a spiritual quest that continues until the Easter Vigil, when new members of the church are often baptised and the entire congregation joins in a reaffirmation of baptismal vows. I should add that the imposition of Ash is optional during the Service and you can refrain from it if you have your reasons for feeling so.

This time round, we are also encouraging the use of a Lent Devotional. This is done up by the team at St Andrew's Cathedral. Printed copies will be made available as well as the digital one. You are also welcome to observe the Daily Office at 7.30 am which will carry the themes of Lent as well.


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