Devotions for Lent

For those who are observing lent and even for those who are not, I think these devotions for lent would be very useful.

It’s from the Lutheran Seminary. Along with the Catholic church, the Anglican, Methodist and Lutheran church observes lent from Ash Wednesday.

https://www.horebmtc.org/hp_wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Lent-Devotions.pdf

Mar Thoma Church observes Great Fifty days lent. Here’s an article from our Theodosius Thirumeni on the Great Lent.

 

Great Lent or Valiya Noyambu

Feasts and fasts are the part of the tradition of all religious communites. In the Christian Churches of Antiochian tradition, including Mar Thoma Church, the Great Lent consists of 40 days ending with 40th Friday, with an extension of 10 more days inclusive of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. It spreads to 7 weeks with a total of 50 days.

Lent is a season observed by our church as a time set apart for fasting and prayer and also a time of introspection. Observing silence is a great help during these days to have transcendence of mind. In the life of the community of the faithful, lent provides a time for spiritual discipline regularly. It is the practice of a life of denial, taking up the cross and following Jesus Christ. Here we recognize that permissiveness is not the principle of life. Freedom in life is a restricted and responsible freedom. Lent is based on the spiritual practice of fasting and prayer-both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Jesus began His public ministry with forty days of fasting and communion with God (Matt. 4:2, Mk 1:13, Lk 4:2). Here the mind is not kept idle but will be very active in communion with God. Fasting and prayer remain as an undeniable character of the Church from the early days (Acts 13:2, 14:23). We wait upon the Lord in fellowship for renewal and strength.

The great lent or Valiya Noyambu is specifically set apart as a time of fast, prayer and meditation wherein we remember the person and work of Jesus Christ and ultimately connect ourselves to His passion and death on the cross. Christ redeemed the whole humanity from sin and death. Lent is in fact a spiritual retreat of the Church, through which the members of the church meditate upon the cross of Christ and submit to it in a sense of complete repentance. These fifty days should help every member of the church to have an experience of abiding in Christ in a realistic way (Jn15).

Fasting should never be observed with ostentation or spiritual pride Matt 6:16-18). Fasting is a spiritual discipline where we try to have mastery over the very things, which we understand as difficult to change. Jesus is the Lord of life and no interest in life shall stand on the way of experiencing His Lordship. So if you discover that you are a slave to certain habit, or you have a liking for any pleasure of taste, lent is a season to give it up and have mastery over it. Lent is not intended to win favors from God; instead it is the fulfillment of the will and purpose of God. It is not a ritual in which we try to change God’s mind rather we transform ourselves to have the mind of Christ. We discipline our life to care the needy and to show mercy to those who deserve it. It reminds us of the transformed practices of Zacheus who found salvation in Christ.

The exercise of Lent is also a time of rebuilding the altars of prayer – both personal and collective, studying the Word of God and developing a strict discipline of giving and forgiving. This helps the believer to gain internal strength to resist temptations, carnal desires and vested interests. Fasting is a time of reconciliation and healing (2Cor 5:11-21). It is a time to reconcile with the whole of creation and to heal the wounds of the world to make it a habitable one. It is a time of transcendence and transformation. St. Paul says in Rom. 1: 1&2 “Therefore I urge you my brethren, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is the spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will”.

Believers are encouraged to read and meditate on the word of God during lent. It will be useful to use continuously a devotional book. Those who study the Bible and use the devotional guide are to spend time in prayer asking God the Holy Spirit to guide you to understand the spirit and meaning of what is the given text for each day. This is not merely an intellectual exercise but a time of devotion, where you accept the Biblical truth into your life, so that it will bear fruit of renewal and transformation.

When you celebrate Easter, let this spiritual exercise help you to celebrate your spiritual life in abundance and to live victoriously in the power of the Holy Spirit. The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus leads the believer towards a renewed life and the faith community to a life of witnessing the power of Christ’s resurrection and to live with great hope towards consummation in the Kingdom of God.

Mar Theodosius



Lighthouse – March

 

Monthly Newsletter of Horeb Mar Thoma Church

Lighthouse

Message from Rev. Larry Varghese, Vicar

Larry_Achen_sml

Dearly Beloved in Christ,

 

“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven…” Mt 6:9

It’s the start of the prayer that we’ve all prayed numerous times. Jesus, when instructing his disciples how to pray, spoke a prayer which was to be a model for them to follow. It’s interesting how we have taken the model and used it to end our family prayers and prayer meetings and perhaps forgot that Christ was saying this prayer, likely with eyes open, in order to teach a lesson.

So what was he teaching us? And how can we include his teachers in our prayer?

Well to understand the boldness of this simple opening line we should put it against the backdrop of Jewish thought and practices. Joachim Jeremias, an NT scholar, points out that nowhere in the Old Testament do we find anyone addressing God as Father. There are passages where God is referred to as Father, but no one uses Father when speaking to him directly. It’s as if there was an unspoken rule that one could not assume to use a term of endearment when addressing the ultimate creator of the entire universe. They believed God to so holy, so sacred, so beyond human comprehension and understanding that to call him Father was unimaginable. It would be like meeting the Pope and saying, Hey, What’s up Buddy? The one saying it might be a good friend of the Pope, but those who heard it would cringe at the blatant crassness and the lack of respect.

Now look at Jesus’ prayers. In all but one of his recorded prayers, he addresses God as Father. This was a significant shift from the earlier tradition. I’d like to focus on two things this teaches us.

1)      To call him Father affirms that we are his children. But before we accepted Christ we were slaves to sin. We were not worthy to be called his children. But through faith in Christ, those who were once estranged are now adopted as sons and daughters of God. We have an eternal inheritance. This is a great privilege and we would do well to never take it for granted. When Jesus is his unfathomable grace sought to save us from our sins and bring us into his family he taught us to join him in calling God as Father! To call him Father is to confirm our standing before God. It is a constant reminder of both his grace and our need to live up to our title as Children of God.

2)      Father is certainly a term of endearment. It conveys a level of intimacy that the religious leaders of Jesus’ days couldn’t tolerate. We would never address our biological father by saying Mr. _____.  It would be inappropriate and borderline insulting to speak to him in an impersonal way. Jesus teaches his disciples that it is perfectly appropriate to desire and seek a paternal level of intimacy with God. Even the Holy Spirit prompts us to cry “Abba Father” – Gal 4:6. It is this closeness that prompted the liturgists of our church to say Daivame, nee parishudhanakkunu… in our Kauma. I have been told by several senior Achens and even Bishops that they never had a problem with using this informal language (even in songs) to address God because it emphasized the closeness we have to our Creator.

When we pray, let us remember that through Christ we have been adopted into his family. We can call our God Father because we are his children according to his grace. And let us also strive to address him more sincerely, and be bold enough to embrace a relationship that reflects the intimacy we have with our heavenly Father. Along with Jesus, the apostles, and even the once Muslim – Bilquis Sheikh, let us dare to call him Father (If you haven’t, I encourage you to read Bilquis’ amazing story of conversion in her book, I Dared to Call Him Father)
Rev. Larry Varghese.

Worship Service

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Sunday School

All Sundays – 1:30 pm

Praise & Worship

All Sundays – 2:30 pm

Service Times

All Sundays – 3:00 pm

First Sunday Holy Communion Service (English)

Second Sunday Holy Communion Service (Malayalam)

Third Sunday Holy Communion Service (English)

Fourth Sunday Holy Communion Service (English)

Fifth Sunday Divine & Witnessing Service (English)
(when applicable)

 

Lectionary

Bible Lesson Readers & Deacons

News, Events & Monthly Meetings

newsandevents

General Church Events

Faith and Practice Class conducted by Rev. Larry Varghese
Sunday, March 2 (after service)

Topic: How the Bible was put together – Canon


Diocesan Sunday – Pulpit Exchange

Sunday, March 16
Rev. Mathew John, Vicar of Seattle MTC will be conducting the Holy Communion Service.
Kindly request everyone to attend the service.

 

General Body Meeting

Sunday, March 23

There will be a general body meeting of Horeb MTC on Sunday, March 23, immediately following the service. Please prayerfully attend the meeting.

Agenda:

– Election of English Lay Leader
– Area Prayer Group Proposal
– Song Reorganization (English & Malayalam Choir Songs for 1st & 2nd Sunday)
– Any other matters with the permission of the Vicar

Parish (Edavaka) Mission

Tuesday Evening Meeting @ 7:00pm

3/4: Mr. & Mrs. Mathew Koshy
3/11: Mr. & Mrs. Isaac George
3/18: Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Mammen
3/25: Mr. & Mrs. K.M. Chacko

Edavaka Mission Committee Meeting

At GGUMC after service.

 

Sevika Sangham (Women’s Ministry)

Western Regional Sevika Sangham One Day Conference
Saturday, March 15 – 8am to 4pm

Hosted by Horeb MTC.

For details, please click on link below:

https://www.horebmtc.org/western-region-sevika-sangham-one-day-conference/

 

World Day of Prayer 

Sunday, March 9

We are recognizing March 9th 2014 as the World Day of Prayer. This year we are praying for the country of Egypt. Egypt is a land that has a lot of biblical significance and of late this country has faced a lot of political and economic turmoil. Here are some of the highlights of the day’s events that has been planned.

1. Intercessory prayer in the morning during praise and worship for Egypt.

2. Special liturgy before Holy Communion service.

3. Sermon by our very own Roshin Kochamma followed by a special prayer.

4. A special skit and song by the Sunday school children.

A special offertory will be taken for the nation of Egypt. This offertory will go towards girls’ education, clean drinking water, sanitation, refugee rehabilitation, interfaith issues and also towards other countries and organizations that require funds on Christian training and leadership.

The world day of prayer will be celebrated simultaneously in 170 countries across the world. I urge you to keep Egypt in your daily prayers

– Reni John, Sevika Sangham Secretary

 

 

Youth Fellowship

Bible Study
Friday, March 14, 6:45 pm
Location: Parsonage

 

Youth Fellowship pictures from Sky High Trampoline Park on Feb 14th.