In this blog from Phil, he encourages us to use Lent as a time to strengthen ourselves spiritually so we can reach out to others more effectively. There are also ways you can engage practically at the end.
A blog for lent
But Lent is not just about giving up chocolate or cheese. Or other forms of abstinence.
Jesus talked about not making a song and dance about fasting, but it being personal & secret.
The rewards may indeed be physical benefits such as losing weight, feeling healthier, even food tasting better afterwards.
But it can also have a deeper, more hidden, impact.
Fasting can also help us to re-orientate ourselves spiritually, strengthen our spirits and refresh us and help us regain that lost sense of purpose.
Use Lent as an opportunity to draw near to God and strengthen your own commitment to Jesus.
Follow a daily reading scheme like:
And then use Ramadan as an opportunity to pray:
I remember whilst travelling in Israel/Palestine many years back arriving in a town at night.
We were travelling by car, two of us, looking for somewhere to stay.
We asked a local for directions and ended up being invited to his home, where we were welcomed and given food and somewhere to sleep.
We also got to meet his family the next morning over breakfast.
This incident had a profound effect on me, as I was on the receiving end of what has been called the ‘kindness of strangers’.
This is something I, like many others, have experienced frequently as I travel.
This is also the chosen title of journalist Kate Adie's autobiography.
Maybe you can also think of incidents where you have been on the receiving end of hospitality...
In ‘Cool Britannia’ we can be somewhat slower in offering hospitality.
And it seems that, post-Brexit, incidents of Hate Crime are increasing, as reported in the Independent recently.
Xenophobia is on the rise in Britain (literally the fear of the stranger/foreigner).
The Bible encourages us to ‘practice hospitality’ thereby ‘entertaining angels unawares’ (Hebrews 13:2 ESV). An intriguing phrase…
The answer to xenophobia is to respond in the opposite spirit – ‘philoxenia’ which is the Biblical (Greek) term for generosity or hospitality.
It literally means love of strangers and foreigners.
Go on try it. Practice generosity or hospitality with a stranger. And maybe just maybe you will encounter an ‘angel’...
Phil - an Anglican minister, who is also a Street Angel, and a part of Mahabba