A New Meaning to Lent
“New Meaning to Lent” by Rev. Christine 3/9/03 The spiritual practice of Lent began this past Wednesday March 5, known as Ash Wednesday, and goes through to Easter. It is a 40 day period for fasting to bring forth purification, surrender, and selflessness. Forty days relates to the 40 days that Jesus went into the to fast and pray to prepare for his mission here on earth which we call his three year ministry. Metaphysically the Bible uses 40 to represent a period of time to prepare for some higher spiritual endeavor. In other words, it isn’t necessarily forty days as with Jesus, or 40 years as with Moses and the Hebrew people, but until it is done in consciousness, and so it isn’t about time or calendar days or years. It is when the unfoldment of the new consciousness is done, and ready for the new work at hand; it could be lifetimes. What this preparatory period actually accomplishes depends upon the effort put forth by the soul or person; otherwise known in the Christian Mysteries as the initiate. Advent, beginning the four Sundays prior to Christmas, begins the journey to Christhood; with hope the promise, faith in action, wonder of the mysteries, and joy of the new Christ birth within us. We continue on with the unfoldment of practicing love and compassion. Then we begin the next journey we call Lent which leads to the resurrection of the soul. Ash Wednesday kicks off this next 40 days. Ashes from the palms of the prior year Palm Sunday are used to put a mark on the forehead. Thus as a reminder as to the failures in the course of the year past to live true to the high ideals to which the soul was awakened on Palm Sunday -- a reminder of our humanness; the mark of the beast to be resurrected. Lent as practiced in modern times has become more of a ritual rather than a true spiritual practice for resurrection. I remember as a child when other school children would be talking about giving up candy during this period of time, and many adults too, and then on Easter to feast on such candy or whatever they had given up. I really didn’t understand this practice since I wasn’t raised in a church that had these practices. The deeper meaning of Lent is much more than just giving up for a specified period of time your favorite food or thing. It is the transforming from it. Lent is the purification – the going into the desert to be freed from that which binds us to our earthly body and existence. Its like a caterpillar going into its cocoon to get its wings; but it must first have faith, and surrender its life – its current body for the greater life and body. We today that study metaphysics see this as a time to go deeper into our spiritual practices for a greater self realization. These practices include prayer, meditation, the giving up of false ideas and beliefs of duality, the purifying of our mind and emotions, and then to walk our talk. Lent begins in the month of Pisces represented by water, and ends in Aries represented by fire which signifies new beginnings. Pisces being purified by water – water also means spirit. The act of baptism by water as given to us by John the Baptist is the beginning of this period – the first initiation. Jesus was first baptized and then went into the desert to fast – fast from this plane of duality to claim his true powers as the Christ. As with all of us, as we go through these stages of unfoldment we are tested before we can proceed to greater understanding. We awaken to greater powers; many to the psychic world, to touch healing, or manifestation. We are then tested by temptation in how we shall use our powers. If we fall prey to our temptation, then we are bound to the material world, until we rise above our desires for wealth, power, and self-grandizement. These are the temptations that Jesus faced by his adversary, which we understand to be the ego. The disciple is ready for his next spiritual work when he passes in humility, selflessness, and detachment to the worldly things of life. The Bible states that his adversary would return; and so the tests continue as we reach pivotal points in our spiritual journey. And, of course Jesus’ greatest test came with the initiation by crucifixion. The night before he prayed that this be lifted from him, but ended it with “Thy will be done.” Jesus was also baptized by the Holy Spirit, this was represented by a dove and the words “Thou art my beloved son; in thee I am well pleased.” The feast of Pentecost, is when the Disciples received the baptism by the Holy Spirit, which is a baptism by fire, or we call the holy breath, the new spirit is infused with new Life and Light of God. For us today that are in spiritual practice and seek for greater awareness of union in God, we take this period of time, 40 days, to bring forth a greater degree of light, truth, and love. Beginning with John the Baptist, his key word was “repent” to give up the flesh desires for spirit. Metaphysically “repent” means to look up – raise our vision from the material world to the spiritual world. The spiritual world of wholeness, love, peace, harmony, beauty, wisdom, joy, knowledge, power, and eternal life. When we keep our vision to the material life, earth as our substance and life giver, rather than spirit – God as our life and source, then we fear of dying and that leads to fear of living as well; and that is the living hell – always being afraid. Believing that the material world has power over us, the power to hurt and kill. This is the great dream that began with Adam and Eve. Back when Eve was tempted to eat the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, believing that would make her powerful like a god. Not realizing what she already was. The Lord God, which walked with them in the Garden of Eden, was their inner voice of wisdom and guidance. And, the serpent as the ego, the tempter or adversary. The fallen Eve represents our five basic senses, and the fallen Adam the intellect reasoning mind. Both ruled by our desires and fears. The fall was the beginning of the dream of a world of duality, of good and evil, of pain and suffering, of toil and work, and slavery to the material way of life. When we forget who we are and look to the earthly way of life for our existence then we are the living dead, asleep. Believing we are living in a physical body with its physical aliments and eventual death. Although, we believe it it doesn’t make it true, anymore than believing in a flat world makes it true. But, we do abide by what we believe and live and reap accordingly. So the first step back on our spiritual journey is renunciation to the material world as our source of life “I shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God”. It is a time to awaken our self, to the spirit within that we in truth are already. And, to once again walk with God. I can recall how many times I had said, “Why didn’t I listen to that still small voice within” instead I listened to that loud voice, the voice of fear or reasoning mind, and reaped knowing it was truly all unnecessary. If I had just listened, listening and then acting upon that guidance is called obedience. Many people claim to listen to the voice for God, but how many really act upon it, “Thy will be done.” So we take the active step of denying to the old, the old way of thinking and believing, and then affirming that which is true. Every time we are faced with an appearance of lack, of disharmony, of illness or disease, or that of war we deny its very life and power in our life. Instead of falling into fear, poor me, or victim mode – let us claim our true power – “Though art the Christ the son of the living God”, “There is only one power and it is God”, “The Christ goes before me making the crooked roads straight.”, “The Father within me doeth the work” or simply “Let the truth be revealed”, or “Get behind me, for God only shall I serve.” Again, where do we put our faith, in the world of appearance which lies to us, or in God, in spirit, in the invisible where all truth and good comes. It is as a veil of illusion that covers our sight to the truth, but once we stand steadfastly facing thee, and claim our truth regardless if we can see it, then all is revealed in its true light. A snake in the dark becomes but a broken branch or an enemy becomes your friend and ally. This last week I happened to flash on a station where a minister was speaking and I as so surprised because his message was so metaphysical except for the use of Satan. Anyway, his story was about being told of having cancer. He didn’t tell anyone except his wife because he didn’t want all their so sorry’s. Instead, he immediately began to claim his health as, I am healed, I is healed, I was healed. He even put this on a tape and played it 24 hours a day. And, when he went back the tests revealed, yes, he was indeed healed. He lifted his vision to God, and claimed the truth, regardless of the appearance and expertise. He claimed God as the only authority for his health, and he was made new, resurrected in a new life. Let us take this Lenten season to open our eyes and truly see good everywhere, and see God in and as our self and in everyone everywhere. Do a self introspection of your beliefs and fears that bind you to a physical existence. And, ask “By what authority were they given, by man or by God? Were they formed by outer observation or inward truth?” We go back to the one principle – All is spirit, all is God! Then what else is there? Make this your season to a resurrected Christ Consciousness.