Anglican Fellowship of Prayer
Partners in Prayer
Letter from the President
It’s been said that we make resolutions and God gives absolutions. Well, we’ve made our New
Year’s resolutions, and I wonder just how many of us have kept them. Do we just forget them or do we
need to ask God to absolve us from them? Not really, for those resolutions are more than likely secular
and probably only our spouse, a close friend, or maybe just ourselves know, so there need be no real
concern if we fall short in our keeping them. It was fun making them.
However, now we come to the Lenten season where our resolutions become a bit more important
because they are made with Jesus in mind, thinking of Him fasting and praying those 40 days.
We think in terms of those 40 days being an absolute count, but to the Jewish mind, the way I
understand it, the number 40 means the amount of time needed to consummate whatever is going on (eg.
40 days of rain and the flood, 40 years in the wilderness). For instance Paul said that he was beaten five
times by the Jews with 40 lashes less one (2 Corinthians 11:24) which meant that he could be beaten
again by the Jews if they so deemed it. However, if he had been beaten with the full 40 lashes he could
not have been beaten again for his punishment would have been consummated.
The important thing, however, is not to be legalistic about the actual number of days, but to reflect
on the sacrifice Jesus made so that we could be reconciled with God, and to be thankful for that. We don’t
make the Lenten “sacrifices” to be good or to be perfect. Indeed, speaking for myself, I usually pick
something small and simple to give up (or take on), and even at that I usually fail. My inability to be “perfect” in some small and simple thing should remind me of the sacrifice of Jesus and why Easter is so
important. If we could be perfect, Jesus would not have had to die.
As the reading for Ash Wednesday in Our Daily Bread says, “Although giving up something does
not make anyone good or perfect, it should bring to mind the sacrifice of a good and perfect God that
makes our salvation possible”. That, then, is the purpose of our Lenten “sacrifices” and needs to be on
our minds each of these 40 days. Thanks be to God!
President, AFP US Council
Anglican Fellowship of Prayer Lenten 2013 Full Newsletter