Claremore Ministerial Alliance’s weekly Lent services began this week on Ash Wednesday, with a call to conversion and message of the importance of prayer, offered by Father Sylvanus Amaobi from St. Cecilia Catholic Church.
“As Christians, we are called upon to follow in the footsteps of Christ, who walked in the wilderness, fasted for 40 days, and it is this that we do the Lenten season — to remind us of what Christ passed through,” Father Sylvanus began. “We ourselves follow in His footsteps, so as to be one with God.
“Therefore, let us pray that this Lenten season will be for us a moment where we look up, turn back to Him, and we follow the commandments of God,” he said. “I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of us who made it here today for this Ash Wednesday celebration — the day we recall the sufferings of Christ, and try to imitate Him in our own lives, so that what Jesus did for us will never be in vain — that is what Lent is all about.”
Father Sylvanus then reflected on the call to conversion.
“In our Biblical readings, especially from second Corinthians, Paul is calling us to reconcile with God,” he said. “Paul says ‘Now is the appointed time for you to reconcile with God. You know, sometimes people put off conversion to another day, a ‘better’ day, but the point is any day we have the opportunity to listening to God, hearing the word of God, that day is the best day to turn back to God.”
Turning away from sin and to God, towards righteousness and to establish a fresh friendship with God requires an act of conscious effort and commitment, Father Sylvanus said.
“Celebrating the Lenten season today means we — in ourselves — will have to make a promise, a resolution, to turn to God,” he said. “No one is going to do it for you, it’s something you have to do for yourself. The act of reconciliation — or turning to God — is a personal thing, a personal relationship with Him. If you don’t have that personal relationship with God, you cannot repent. You cannot be converted. You cannot turn to God.
“What can we do to repent? To be converted? To turn to God? Through alms giving, and fasting, and praying,” he said. “That’s why the church has given us this moment — now — now is the time to give alms and to fast and to pray.”
Following the homily, Father Sylvanus offered the giving of ashes and gave a closing prayer.
Guest speaker at next week’s Lenten service will be Pastor Stephen Cagle of Claremore First United Methodist Church.