Give Your Frist Fruits

Ash Wednesday Ushers In Lenten SeasonBy Jim Poirier, Presiding Bishopric

“So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.” You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. Then you…shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.

—Deuteronomy 261:10–11

When I was a young boy, we celebrated Lent in our home. Lent was a big deal in the Roman Catholic faith because it prepared us for the Easter event that comes at the end of the 40–day period after Ash Wednesday. I remember those times because it strengthened my relationship to God. It was a time of seeking, thirsting, listening, and committing.

On Ash Wednesday, weather permitting, we would close the school and march as a group to the church. There we were anointed with ashes on our foreheads I the shape of the cross. This was a sign of our humanity.

The act placed me in a connection with God as creator and source of my being. Like Jesus, during this 40–day period, we were in a wilderness of sorts. We would follow certain rituals to help us reflect, repent, and prepare. We would make sacrifices to make more room for God–give our first fruits to God.

This was the time in my life when I first can remember developing any kind of relationship to God. This relationship continues to develop to this day.

During my daily walks to church, I was alone with God. I remember thinking about who I was. This God who seemed so far away walked with me. I felt that God was pleased with what I was doing. As I worshiped, I talked to God. God responded with a challenge to live my life for others.

The winters were long and cold in northern Ontario. The snow was beginning to melt, and the days were noticeably longer. I felt new life. God accepted my sacrifice and heard my prayers. My relationship to God grew strong. As I ran home God would run with me, through the puddles of melting snow.

Lent for me symbolizes going into the wilderness. But it isn’t so bad there–for it was there that I experienced a loving God who assured me that I was not alone. By sharing in the feast of creation, I knew God loved me. I was forgiven and renewed.

Prayer for Peace
Loving God, may we always be open to a deeper connection with you. By committing our first fruits and through our sacrifices, may we see how rich our lives can be as we share the peace of Christ with others.

Spiritual Practice: Invite People to Christ
Jesus discerned hungers of body and spirit, and he fed them through a physical, verbal, spiritual ministry of presence. In a time of listening prayer ask God to help you discern physical or spiritual hungers of people in your congregation, community, and global family. Invite the Spirit to move you to one hospitable act that “feeds” someone’s hunger today.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will free my life from distractions that hinder a relationship to you.

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1 Comment

  1. Betty Robinson

     /  17 February 2013

    Thank you Jim, for sharing how God was close to you in your life. What a beautiful story.


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