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Dear COA Family,

How is your observance for the season of Lent going so far?

I am very thankful that many of you have embarked on some form of fasts – be it in a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual manner. 

The grace and discipline of fasting has been given to us by Christ to allow us space to make room for more of God’s words and presence in our hearts. 

If you have not been as faithful as you would like it to be in your fasts or have not started on one, don’t lose heart.

The Lord is a God who is merciful and gracious; he renews us each day in our dependence and pursuit of him, and he will grant us daily grace for each day’s needs.

We can fast not only by depriving ourselves of what we normally enjoy, but by doing good works towards others

The prophet Isaiah records God as saying:

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Isaiah 58:6-9

God’s appointed fasts also consist of us practically doing good to others, especially helping the needy, the poor and the despised of society.

In doing so, the blessing and favour of the Lord will richly rest upon us so that our prayers will be very effective and our relationship with God deepened.

And this was exactly what a sister in our church told me recently that she was doing as part of her fast during this season of Lent.

She would think of one good deed to do another personeach day – whether it is in physically buying food for that person or calling up someone to encourage him or her.

So friends, if you have not started on a fast, why not ask God to help you bless someone in this season in a practical way?

You will never know how much of a blessing you can be through the power and love of God working through your life!

God bless,

Revd Ian