Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Fasting and Lent are integral part of our spiritual life. Repentance and renewal of God’s people and their salvation is the main aim of the same. It is also for the renewal of mind, body and spirit. In the Old Testament days the prophets taught the people of God to practice it. In the New Testament ,Jesus Himself taught and practised fasting and lent. Jesus criticised the hypocritical fasting of the Pharisees and the Scribes. In the Mar Thoma Church we have five Lents. The Church Constitution gives much importance to the Lent and makes it an irremovable practice. The following are the different types of Lent that are practised in our Church. 1. 25 days Lent (25 Nombu) Before 25days Lent the Church starts the Liturgical year which gives importance to the sanctification of the church (koodosheetho). The Liturgical year also remembers the all saints day and the study and practices of the Faith and traditions of the Church. In this Lent period we commemorate the birth of Jesus through Virgin Mary. Just as Virgin Mary surrendered herself and submitted her womb for the birth of His own son we are getting ready ourselves to give space to Jesus of Nazareth in our lives. This Lent begins on December 01st and it continues till 25th (Christmas Eve). 2. 50th Great Lent For the joyful participation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ we should meditate and feel the experience of the public ministry, persecution, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. In this Lent period we meditate on the 40 days fasting of Jesus in a desert and the persecution, death and resurrection of Jesus. Through this lent experience we have to go through repentance, reconciliation, renunciation and renewal. We cannot fix a date for this Great Lent. 3. 3 days Lent It is also known as Noah Lent. Just as the people of Ninaveh fasted and saved themselves from the wrath of God and destruction we also set apart this Lent for repentance and redemption from our sins. This Lent comes 21 days before the Great Lent (50days Lent). 4. Apostles Lent (Sleeha Nombu) We are commemorate apostles’ lives, witnessing, martyrdom and faith in this Lent. Every year from June 16th to 19th we observe this Lent.
5. 15days Lent - (Aug 01st to 15th) During these days we are meditate on Virgin Mary’s faith, obedience and commitment and surrender to the will of God. We observe the above Lent for our spiritual nourishment. Forbidding certain food items is not fasting and Lent. It means more than it. According to Isaiah chapter 58 verses 5 to 7 “Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen to lose 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?” We cannot fast by forgetting our brothers and the people who are in need. I hope this year’s 25 days lent will become a meaningful one by our forsaking of tasty things for the sake of giving taste to others. This year we don’t know how to conduct our Christmas service and watch night services. Kindly pray that our St. Thomas centre gets opened soon for conducting our Services. On 24th we will be conducting the Christmas Carol Services virtually. I appreciate our choir leader Mr. Andrews Cherian and team for making efforts to conduct this service meaningfully in this Covid pandemic situation. Our Diocesan Episcopa Rt. Rev. Dr. Mathews Mar Makarios Thirumeni will bless us through his Christmas message. Every Tuesday we are conducting Holy Communion Service in NECK at 7 pm. Kindly attend it prayerfully. Those who celebrate their birthdays, wedding anniversaries and would like to offer special thanks to God , kindly attend the services. On behalf of the Kaisthana Samithi I thank every member who generously supports our Parish activities by way of the one day income and special donations for different causes in this difficult pandemic situation. I expect your whole hearted participation in the ensuing Christmas collection and Diocesan Development Fund collections. Every Friday morning we listen to ‘Altara’, a study of the Book of Isaiah through our what’s app groups. It is a really noble effort of Mr. Jacob Joseph Velloor (Biju). Hope everyone makes use of it. Some of our family members are worried about the passing away of their dear ones and the ailments of aged parents, in India. Let us uphold them in our prayers.
May God bless you all