As we begin the Lenten season, I would like to share with you excerpts from the FOREWARD for the Charles Fillmore book, Keep a True Lent, written by Rev. Georgiana Tree West:
“The Christian world is once again observing the Lenten season; the season of prayer and fasting that precedes the joyous festivity of Easter. It is commonly believed that the Lenten period has to do with the events of the forty days preceding the Resurrection. This is an erroneous idea. Lent is a church institution, and there is no authorization for it anywhere in the New Testament. The idea, however, has a sound spiritual basis; Moses, Elijah, and Jesus Himself set a precedent for it. Each observed a forty-day period of prayer and fasting as a preparation for spiritual work. Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai at the conclusion of his fast. Elijah talked with God on Mount Horeb at the conclusion of his period of prayer and fasting. Jesus began his great spiritual ministry at the close of his fast in the wilderness.
The ancient Hebrew writers made a practice of using numbers to symbolize ideas. Forty, in their minds, was a “foursquare” number suggesting the idea of a foundation for something to follow; an idea of completeness. So the number forty is frequently used in the Scriptures to indicate a completed preparation for something to follow. When we consider Lent as a well-rounded or “completed” season of retreat from the things of the world for the cleansing of the mind and the recollection of the things of Spirit, it becomes a true season of preparation for the glorious Eastertide; a preparation for the resurrection of the mind from the darkness of its sins, doubts and false beliefs into the light of understanding.
One of the most valuable ways of observing the Lenten season is to fast from (loose and let go) the belief that men or nations can stand in the way of God’s good will for man. Now is the time to affirm the power of the Christ Spirit
indwelling in all men [and women] everywhere and influencing their thoughts, words and actions to work for the good of the whole. We all want to be of some influence in establishing world peace. To do so, we must learn to obey Paul’s exhortation “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace.” Each one of us must be concerned with improving his [her] own life. We must learn to deny our selfish impulses and be obedient to impulses of brotherly love. When we withdraw our attention, interest and support from the false and unworthy, this is true fasting. When we give that same attention, interest and support to the enduring good, we are feasting on the things of the Spirit and this is true prayer. When we have truly fasted in the Christ way we have increased our ability to respond to God’s good will.”
From Charles Fillmore…. “Lent is a season of spiritual growth, a time for progressive unfoldment.”