Lenten Reflection 3

Lenten Reflection 3

All Is Vanity

1:1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.

The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.

All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.

11 There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be
among those who come after them

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11, ESV

Lenten Reflection 2

Lenten Reflection 2
I was having dinner with my mum one day and was sharing with her a story from the Bible. The story was told of a woman who was brought before Jesus. This woman happened to be a prostitute. The public opinion of prostitute hasn’t change much over the years. People are still looking down on them and they are seen as dirty and with low moral value. Anyway this woman was brought before Jesus and the crowd was asking the Lord Jesus how He would deal with her. Jesus was sitting down quietly. He was totally cool about the whole commotion. He bent down gently, and scribbled some words on the floor. The Bible did not tell us what he scribbled on the floor. I do not wish to make any groundless speculation.
I guess the crowd was waiting for Jesus to reply to their accusation of this woman. Jesus remained silent for quite a while. The crowd was probably arguing among themselves what Jesus should do. Finally, Jesus broke his silence and said something like this, "He who among you is without sin may go ahead to cast the first stone at this woman." The hearts of the people there felt like being pierced by a double edged sword. Slowly less and less people were talking and arguing….they all slowly, one by one, dropped the stones in their hands and walked away. The woman was left alone with Jesus. The Lord finally looked up to her and asked, "where are your accusers?" The woman replied with her frailed voice, " They have left. I am left alone with you now." Jesus replied gently but full of authority and said, "Then you may go too. Your sins are forgiven. Go, and sin no more!" The woman slowly pushing herself off the ground, getting on her two feet. She slowly walked away from Jesus. Tears run down from her eyes and she took a last look at this man..not with the same eyes that she looked at other men in the past…she knew very very well that her eyes were beholding the Saviour of the world. She knew very well that she just had an unusual encounter with almighty God!
In this season of Lent, we need to have a fresh encounter with Jesus again. We need to look inside ourselves, our sins, our weaknesses and our pride and arrogance. We need to once again be reminded that we are all sinners saved by the grace of God. Without His grace and mercy we are absolutely nothing. We need to also be reminded not to be too quick to judge others. Before we even cast stone, we need to check our hearts. Sometimes, dropping the stone accusation can be form of spiritual release for some. I am so glad that Jesus was bent down when the woman was brought to her. He did not join in with the crowd to have another pair of eyes looking at her. She doesn’t need another pair of eyes to look at her….she needs a hand to touch her heart again. She needs a Saviour to speak forgiveness and mercy into her.
Let us come before Jesus in this season of Lent to ask Him to touch our hearts again. We need Jesus to revisit us as sinners saved by grace…yes we are a new creation…no longer a sinner in Him…but we need to visit the Cross of suffering once again…to remind ourselves of the grace we received from Him…. 
the gatekeeper07

Lenten Reflection 1

Lenten Reflection 1
This story was told by the preacher this morning during the Holy Communion at 8am.A father was trying to get his son to sit down. He gently asked, "Son, sit down". The son refused to sit down. The son folded his arms and continued to stand in front of the father, carryng a grouchy face. The father got a little patient, but still hoping that the son would obey him, saying, "Son, sit down!" The son still refused to sit down, standing there, arms folded. This time the father was very impatient, raised his voice and said, "Son, Sit Down!" This time round, the son knew that the father was getting angry, and thus decided to sit down, with his arms still folded. The he said to the father, "My outside is sitting down…but my inside is not. I am still standing up!"
Today is the first day of the season of Lent. This season is very special as it calls Christians from all walks of life to slow down their pace and start to have time to reflect on their spiritual standing. How often we are in the mad rush and hard to have the time to think about our relationship with God, repentance and forgiveness. The Lenten season is always mark with series of deep reflection on themes like repentance, forgiveness, sin, God’s mercy and love and etc.
Today, the preacher expressed his deep concern for the church. Not just Saint Andrew’s Cathedral, but the Church universal. His greatest concern for Christians throughout the world, or even from the world he came from, is that believers worship with their lips, but their hearts are far away from God. Is your heart, is my heart, far away from God? Where is your heart at the moment? Do we have a place for God in our heart? If yes, is that place the most important place in your heart? Or is God simply secondary or in the third of fourth placing of your heart?
Why is it important to have God in our hearts and what more the most important place? I think the answer is obvious, it is because Jesus has given all for us. We are never secondary in His heart! When I think about His suffering and His pain, I always ask myself, how could anyone love me like this. What manner of love is this? I cannot understand how could someone love me, such a sinner…such a wretched sinner. I have failed the Lord so many times, and yet, His love for me never fails. The only way I can possibly repay Him of such love (though not expected by Him) is to put Him first in my heart.
The preacher quoted from Proverbs 4:23, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." This Lenten season we need to re-look into our hearts and see where Christ’s position is. In a world with so much uncertainty, there is one thing we know for sure….that is Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. He will come again in glory and splendour. He will come again to take His beloved home….So therefore, we need to guard our hearts and our minds to allow absolutely nothing to take away our love for Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
I myself need to repent of so many things that keep me away from loving God. I really enjoyed today’s service, especially when Rev. Kuan replaced the Creed with Psalm 51, instructing us to read the psalm responsively. It was powerful move. It was a powerful prayer of repentance and forgiveness. It is especially powerful when we prayed that prayer in unison as church.
Let us indeed, take this season of Lent to reflect and to think deep into our relationship with God and how we should repond to what’s going on int he world with the Bible as our manual.