Season of Lent
Season of Lent is a time to reflect upon oneself and to strive for
good governance. Good governance can be viewed not just from a political framework but also during the Season of Lent as a self regulatory framework for an individual’s
intention to achieve a code of discipline, moral responsibility to oneself and to those in the community through God.
During the Season of Lent fasting is a spiritual state of self examination, self evaluation and determination. Through prayer we can learn to govern ourselves in
relation to ourselves and those around us.
In this issue art posters are used to illustrate 3 issues facing good governance hoping that these issues help us think in terms of the Season of Lent.The issues for discussion
through art are:
1) Mercy and love in mother and child
2) The youth of old age .
1) Mercy and love in mother and child
In the christian tradition as Mary prepares for the birth of Jesus, her virgin womb is the prophetic conception of mercy , compassion and goodness just as God’s
covenant is with us. In Hebrew the word for uterus and womb is “Rechem ”
The word “Rechem” is also translated as “mercy” and this denotes the feelings of affection , protected love which God has towards us, His children. The translation
for the word “Rechem” is a superior and the highest kind of mercy and unconditional love similar but beyond the human level of what a mother has for her child in her womb.
The Lord’s mercy is like a womb of protection to His children and that mercy and compassion is the covenant that we are bonded to Him with prayer. Similarly the words mercy
and womb both come from the same root in Hebrew which translates the womb and mercy as one entity .
At the human level it is like an umbilical cord which connects us to God in a covenant within a sacred space where “womb” and “mercy” is the meaning of a safe, protected, hidden surrounding of compassionate love.
Most of all the child is dependent on the mother and what passes in the mother is transported to the child in the womb through the placenta.What the mother drinks and
eats passes through as food to the embryo and the growing fetus is totally dependent on the mother’s choices. Thus infiltration of drugs such as alcohol, cocaine, caffeine, nicotine can have adverse to carcinogenic effects on the growing child. Good governance and social responsibility is implicated in love and mercy. This word mercy has roots to the word womb, as a state, time and space of sacred love which is unconditional and not expectant of rewards or for receiving anything back in return. It is a gift.
There is a symbiotic relationship between mother and child where both grow as they need each other. In the same token the flesh of man is connected to the Divine
Light through spirit to form a dependent love, the covenant with God.
Click on each painting to have a closer view.
In this painting we see a mother and her child looking out a window. In life there are many windows which we will look out of and windows from which others can look at us
from our exterior world.
You will not remember the first window when your mother showed you Light. After being protected in her safe merciful hidden womb for 9 months, then at birth there is
light. That light we see after compassionate love and mercy have been shown to us in the womb. Divine Light continues as each of us seek to build a covenant with God,
who cradles us with mercy and compassion guiding us away from sin and into good governance.
Mercy is central to good governance as without merciful compassion and love there is no growth or social responsibility. This is essential to christian spiritual , social and judicial life.
It is our social responsibility to be in a state of good governance to provide a window of opportunity so that facing consequences is with hope, love, mercy and not mere punishment.
Mercy is a commitment with nothing in return expected , only unconditional love.
In the painting the windows are new days of
hope and light and through perseverance comes the healing of bitterness and brokenness .
Through our faith and covenant with God the power and individual good governance can exercise mercy.
Good governance also means to not take away the devotion of people regardless of their religious faith. One has to be free to belong to faith with God. In India for instance Christians make up about 2 percent of the population and for them just like in many other parts of the world Christmas has been celebrated on the birth of Christ, December 25th.
Christianity was introduced in India with St. Thomas arriving in Kerala, south India in 52 AD.
In 2014, the newly elected Prime Minister Modi of India established Good Governance Day to honor former Prime Minister Vajpayee’s birthday which happens to be on
Christmas December 25th. Modi established Good Governance Day but also made it a working day for government. The fear and subtle proselytizing of Hindutva right wing not only is unethical governance but should be a reminder to the right wing Hindtva, that central to Dharma lies ethics. What is gained for India by imposing a government working day on Christmas day when India proclaims to be one of the largest secular, tolerant, democratic
countries in the world? Attacks of anti christian violence is said to be increasing in India on a daily basis. Capacity building of individual countries involves implementing principles of democracy and especially minority rights as part of good governance.
It was persecution and being wrongfully charged that killed Jesus . In the season of Lent mercy and compassion is what must prevail if new windows of hope and light within the walls of humanity are to be gained.
It is said that this mercy and compassion between God and you never departs.
As read in
Isaiah 49: 15-16 Dead Sea Scrolls
15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.”
2) The Youth of Old Age
When we look retrospectively , youth and old age seem markedly separate points of time . Yet we are the same soul transitioning with age and experience . There is the
maturing experience similar to old age in youth as one leaves infancy and childhood. There is the spark and vigor and innocence of youth in old age as one reaches
maturity and experience. The transition from childhood to youth to old age are the stations and markers which form our memory as well as the examples we set upon each
other for good governance.
The Season of Lent is for all ages and especially to recognize the potential and kinetic energy of youth and the need of elders to guide the youth.
In the Bible , 1 Timothy 4:12 New International Version (NIV) has a passage very encouraging to youth ,
12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
This realization is very important in today’s society because growing up has become increasingly difficult .There is a significant rise in teen suicides, bullying and shaming that occurs on a more frequent basis in social media and in the school environment. One needs encouragement and confidence building from very young.
The Book of Proverbs is a place in the Bible not just confined for wisdom to be gained for the youth but also for gaining wisdom at any age. At Biblegateway
Proverbs 1-4 New International Version (NIV) states,
Purpose and Theme
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Youth need to be encouraged with
confidence and inspired by wise counsel. The mighty wings of youth can sweep towards any direction.
We all have faced challenging times growing up and many times fear that because we are young we lack experience and will make a fool of ourselves to do a challenging task and so we often get discouraged to stand up for righteous things. Fighting against peer pressure and to take on tasks in spite of our youth is what the The Call of Jeremiah illustrates in
Jeremiah 1:4-9 New International Version (NIV)
The Call of Jeremiah
4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
6 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.
8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.
There is a calling and we need time and silence to hear the inner voice of God. The Season of Lent for Christians is a divine time to set as a time to examine our
inner self. Fasting and meditation is also commonly practiced among other faiths such as Hinduism, Jainism, Jewish, Buddhism and Islam as a time to self examine and a time to be
with God and have truth revealed.
The youth is a very important segment of our society. They are the future of what we sowed as children.
As Proverbs 22:6 tells us ,” Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Without direction the mighty wings of youth can sweep you to be lost into an empty life filled with evil temptation and sorrowful ends with no focus or goals.This
needs the elders to not despise the youth but set an example of good governance for the youth
in speech, conduct, love. faith and purity . The mighty wings of youth can sweep to develop and lead to maturity, wisdom and dwell on safe grounds with a pure heart .
The importance of elders to encourage children with training and instruction of the Lord’s word can only be conducive to good governance as they become family members and
citizens of the community and nation.
One of the early gifts that a parent can give a child is a prayer purse. A prayer purse can help a child carry a prayer wherever they go.
It encourages children to write a prayer and insert it into the purse,, read a prayer and say their prayers before sleeping and waking in the morning. A prayer purse can be placed under a child’s pillow which is a way to get them used to communicate on a daily basis. Prayer purses are suggested spiritual accessories not just for children but for anyone at any age.
A parent’s role in providing words of wisdom and good governance can be far reaching as stated in.
Proverb 4 20-27
20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
The transition from the mighty wings of youth and childhood to the glorious knowledge of truth can mature as shown in
1 Corinthians 13: 11-13
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Forgiveness is process by which one lets go of negative emotions such as vengeful anger and hatred by exercising a conscious effort and ability to wish the
offender well. Definitely not an easy task when the bitterness, hurt and healing sometimes is a lifetime of memory and scars. In this Season of Lent we look at the painting below to illustrate feelings of how hurt can be generated using Proberbs 6 16-19 as a guide of sentiments that the Lord
does not like us to cultivate.
Click on painting to have a closer view
The struggle to heal from hurt and forgive is very often both in the hands of the victim and the aggressor. Sometimes people who are self righteous and feel that because they are pious, pray and attend church regularly are never deserving of any repercussions to their actions when they hurt others in demonic ways. Hurt can be cast on to others by gossip, condemning others, alienating , discriminating, shaming and making someone feel like they are not accepted. Yet because of their belief system some people dwell in a hypocritical closeness to God and God’s purity. On the surface they appear to be church going and act self righteous but they inwardly hate, condemn and feel they are without sin.
Sometimes they feel it is their right to hate, shame others , and feel superior to others who lack in things they have. Sometimes they feel it is their right to acquire the goods and services of people without treating them in a fair manner and thus take their land and resources and start wars and kill when they are hindered from acquiring the needs of their greed.This is the constant historic plight of mankind at the individual, familial, societal and national level.
Today just after Palm Sunday, another terrorist bombing, this one in Brussels after we can still hear the November echoes of the aftermath of the Paris attacks.Where is good governance heading? Where is forgiveness and mercy heading?
When will we hear the echoes of
Psalm 85:10 ?
Mercy and Truth have met together;
Righteousness and Peace have kissed.
In order for good governance we must start from our own
hearts in prayer.
This may sound simple and naive
but it is powerful.
When women are abused by their own society, when women fight with their own sisters and their brothers and when children rebel against parents, when children and older
people are abused and neglected, when parents cease to be good role models, when nations fight with the hand of other nations that feed them, when religions fight
based on falsehoods to stir conflict and rush to evil, when children learn evil ways from adults…….. where does all this lead?
The generational and international mistakes carry though to the next and the warnings against folly are ignored letting the cycle of folly continue. There is only
conflict and breakdown . The sins of our past will only continue if we feed into the same thinking generation after generation.This is the vulnerability of man and the
need for us not to be fallen but to constantly purify ourselves right up until death.
The painting above is about Proverbs 6 16-19 from the Bible, “Warnings against Folly”
16 There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
These things happen all the time and we are told to forgive but the task is not easy when we deal with our hurt and pain for a lifetime.
Sometimes our righteous anger make us fight for good governance and we act as advocates for ourselves or others who are meek or poor
and sometimes nothing changes. The ultimate and difficult task is to release negative emotions of pain. fear, hatred, jealousy, anger and hurt .
Prayer helps to do this.
It is also important to understand that the aggressor’s actions are wicked and violent perhaps due to somewhere along the course of life, the aggressor too was driven
away from the course of love, mercy and compassion.
The outcome develops into hatred, violence, greed, conflict and dishonesty. One of the greatest challenges of good governance is to exercise mercy when one has been
To conquer evil stems from increasing the goodness and spirituality from an early age. As children, they are helpless and dependent on the world. To make the
world a better place, conscious coalitions of various faiths must understand that the common denominator of the enemy is evil which in turn has the end goal to stir up
conflict and hatred. Goodness is there but evil overrides when there is no indication of mercy and good governance at the individual level.
This is the Season of
Lent, a time for your prayer.
To pray alone in silence is not weakness and to join in prayer with others builds a powerful force underlined with forgiveness either
silent or spoken out loud.
As Saint Mother Teresa said,
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”