SOCA champion Hollis "Mr Killa’s" Mapp's advice to “Pick up something and run with it” was adopted in an uplifting message by the Very Reverend Shelly-Ann Tenia in her Ash Wednesday sermon yesterday at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port of Spain.
However, while the calypsonian’s call had caused the bodily lifting of the likes of coolers and revellers, the dean/rector urged worshippers to pick up virtues, such as kindness, love and gratitude.
“We are invited to, as the calypsonian says, ‘pick up something and run with it.’ I pray that what we will pick up for these next 40 days is the word of God.”
She prayed for people to open themselves to the Holy Spirit and its power to purify our consciences.
“I pray that what we will pick up are habits of heart and mind that will replace those things that move us further from God and that we will engage those practices that will draw us closer to God.”
She said yesterday, the start of the 40 days of Lent (calculated exclusive of weekends), was a period to prepare for Easter, just as Jesus Christ had spent 40 days in the wilderness to get closer to God and prepare for his public ministry.
Tenia urged worshippers to adopt three practices for a more holy Lent.
Firstly was prayer. Tenia urged meditation and contemplation, not just rattling off empty words, but allowing ourselves to listen to what God is saying.
Secondly, she advised fasting as a form of self-denial.
“You know the price of fish is going to escalate beyond reason from today through the next 40 days because everybody thinks fasting is about not eating meat. But long are the days when meat was a luxury. Most people have meat. “So let’s not mamagay God. How about we let the Spirit guide us to the kind of fast that will really be a sacrifice?”
Tenia instead urged people to sacrifice as a way as to grow closer to God and to each other. “The business of fasting or self-denial is really about the process of transformation,” Tenia said.
“Shall we fast from complaining? And pick up gratitude.
“Shall we fast from cynicism and sarcasm, and pick up grace? Shall we fast from anger, resentment and judgement, and pick up forgiveness?
Shall we fast from self-indulgence and pick up self-control?”
Tenia urged people to open themselves to a loving God who would tell them what they need to fast from, so as to become a new creation in Christ. “You’ll be so transformed, folks won’t know what happened to you.”
Thirdly, Tenia urged alms-giving to those in need. Recalling the biblical story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, she prayed God would open our eyes to see people around us with compassion and kindness, including those in our home, neighbourhood and church.
“We don’t see those around us who are broken and hurt,” she advised.
“Not only will we respond to the needs of those who need, but we will also be open to be ministered to. We too are in need of grace.”
Tenia reiterated that Lent should be a time to let God purify people to be ready for Easter and to do the work God has called us to do as disciples of life.
“These practices will transform us to be more Christ-like.”
After the service, Tenia went to the nearby St Ann’s taxi-stand on Hart Street to distribute ashes and prayer cards, and then did likewise at the City Gate transport hub at South Quay.