40 Days of Lent

s131580-26: Hunger of petite girl Chin Ai“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”
– Henri Nouwen

During Lent, the Body of Christ, the Church, sets apart time to repent, fast and prepare for the coming of Easter. It is a time of preparation and anticipation. Lent ends in Holy Week with Jesus being placed in the dark tomb and rising again to launch God’s purpose of making the world right.

Lent also offers us a time to reflect, along with a God who grieves on the cross, over the pain and rejection on the violence perpetrated against children in all our nations. We are calling on the faithful to re-read the scripture from a position of pain and grief, along with children must vulnerable to violence and abuse.

It is a time to recognise the injustice and pain around us, to allow God to fill our hearts with compassion, and to open our eyes to where God wants us to engage.

An invitation

This Lent is an opportunity to journey alongside the poor in the 40 days leading up to Easter.

We believe that violence against children is a violation of the life God desires for every child. We believe that God has made even the most vulnerable child in His own image. Our faith demands a response. With God’s help, along with his Church, we believe we can bring credible hope to all children, especially the most vulnerable.

Violence against children is the fastest growing challenge the world faces today and as followers of Jesus we cannot ignore it or fail to respond to it. Violence affects more than a billion children in every nation. The prevalence and magnitude of violence against children is hard to comprehend, but the enduring physical, emotional and spiritual challenges that children face because of this are more shocking still.

We believe that solutions are within reach.  The church has a unique and essential role in ending violence against children.  This is an issue and opportunity we can unite around, demonstrating unity and love across all expressions of the church.

We invite you to join us as you…

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke (Isaiah 58)?” Can we give up our ignorance and indifference to violence against children and act – as a local congregation?

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7)”  Let’s humble ourselves and plead on behalf of the children who are vulnerable to violence, for we are reminded “…’not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty (Zechariah 4)”.  Let us also intercede on behalf of our nations, for we have all sinned (Nehemiah 1).

Offer your skills to do something that will help to end violence against children.  Advocate against harmful policies as a group.  Start a support group for children, who have experienced bullying, and their parents.  Reach out to a child or a family whom you know is struggling or is at risk of experiencing violence. Volunteer in your childrens’ or adolescents’ ministry at church, and be a mentor and a cheerleader for young people.  Organise an information-sharing event, write a song, volunteer your time and explore other creative ways to strengthen the voice of the voiceless millions of children who have been abused today in our nations.

It takes a world to end violence against children.  It takes faith… and it takes you and me.  May this Lent be a time of a new direction and calling for you in your relationship with God and the people God calls our neighbour.

As followers of Christ, as we gather around the cross, let us join millions of children vulnerable to violence and pray, “Let your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”

For more information, please contact church@worldvision.org.sg.