‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. … “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? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (Isaiah 58: 3-8 NIV)

Wednesday the 2nd of March 2022 is Ash Wednesday and it marks the beginning of Lent. We encourage all in the UPCSA and the Christians at large to observe the Lenten period with prayer and fasting. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have not been able to hold the services from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday/Easter. We should, therefore, concentrate on spiritual and psychosocial upliftment. We should pray for all the preachers to proclaim the gospel in such a way that it becomes the good news to all – the good news to the peoples of the world, especially to the peoples of Russia and Ukraine, the people of Tigray in Ethiopia, the people of Cameroon, the people of Mozambique and the people of eSwatini who are in situations of conflict and violence. Let us remember the words of Tiyo Soga: Lawula, Lawula, Nkosi Yesu! Koza ngawe ukonwaba. Ngeziphithiphithi zethu, yonakele imihlaba (Govern/prevail Lord Jesus. Happiness can only come through you. Because of our struggles/wrangles, the world is damaged/corrupted.)

Let us pray for spiritual growth and, by extension, the church growth. The UPCSA General Assembly adopted a decade programme entitled: “Going for growth: Sowing, growing and reaping”. Let us begin to implement this during the services that begin tomorrow. We commend those Christians who have been using virtual platforms and other communication channels to keep the fellow Christians revived spiritually. We encourage more and effective use of the same to reach out to many.

As we fast and pray, may we never forget to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke, to share our food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter, to clothe the naked, and not to turn away from our own flesh and blood.

May God bless you.

Warmest regards,

Rev Dr Lungile Mpetsheni


General Secretary

Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa

Secretary – Africa Communion of Reformed Churches

Published by St. Columba's Presbyterian Church Hatfield

St Columba's Presbyterian Church in Hatfield, Pretoria, South Africa is a Christian Church. Our vision is to be a Christ-centred, bible-believing church that calls all to come and experience the love of Christ, in a welcoming and caring body of believers.

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