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Dear COA Family,

As we enter the season of Lent, we are reminded to slow down our hectic lifestyles, still our anxious hearts and cease our strivings for things of this world. This is because we can not only then carve out time and space for God in our hearts, but we can also save our efforts from pursuits that do not matter.

And it is so apt that we embark on Lent with the words of St Paul, which is also the theme of Ash Wednesday:
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” (1 Timothy 6:7)

In my work as a pastor, I have had the privilege of conducting many wakes and funerals as well as accompany people through their final stages of life on earth. One thing I have noticed: the absolute and undeniable truth of God’s word! Every person who passes from this life leaves every material possession and accolade behind. No matter how rich, how powerful or how wise a person is, there is nothing he or she can take from this earth. Every person eventually ends up unmoving and naked on the embalming tray, and readied for cremation or burial. There is nothing of a corpse that is stately or imposing. And all of his or her achievements and fame do not matter at that stage.

So the season of Lent helps us pause and consider carefully about what we are doing in this life.

The apostle Paul commands us not to put our hope in riches and reputation here on earth, but to take hold of “the life that is truly life” by pursuing the things that matter.

What, then, are the things that matter?

God tells us one thing that we can do that will matter: “to be rich in good deeds, to be generous and willing to share. In this way, we will lay up for ourselves treasures in the age to come.” (1 Timothy 6:18-19)

In other words, the key to reward in heaven is to be generous, share our blessings with others and not hoard our wealth for ourselves.

To be fully prepared for eternity is to care for others instead of being concerned only about our needs and wants. Success in God’s sight is how much we have emulated Christ’s example of self-giving, and He sees and rewards us for doing that.

And the season of Lent helps us remember to do this very thing!

May the Lord bless us in our focus and contemplation this season.

God bless,
Revd Ian