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Spiritual Preparation

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

By Revd. John Kronenberg

Taken from St John's Parish Magazine - Spring 2023


I am writing this just after the 1st Sunday of Lent, the Church’s season of spiritual preparation for Easter which began on Ash Wednesday. Easter is the most fundamental of all the

Christian festivals – even more important than Christmas, because it celebrates the new life of the resurrection which is possible for all of us through Jesus Christ.


The idea of “spiritual” preparation can sound a bit abstract as if it has nothing to do with the practicalities of life in the “real” world, but nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus teaches that our actions and how we treat people have deep spiritual significance. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6.21), Jesus says.


What he means is plain enough. What we value most of all will determine the kind of people we

are in life. Whether we are compassionate, caring and grace-filled or whether we are hard-hearted and ultimately only self-interested will depend on what we place at the centre of our lives.


Jesus did not contrast the “spiritual” negatively with the material world, quite the reverse. He

ministered to people’s physical and material needs in a highly practical way and preached about

generosity and charity toward others. What Jesus did contrast with the “spiritual” was the purely materialistic. He taught that to place our confidence and hope in material things and in money is simply misguided and therefore wrong. Just think of the parable of the rich fool who decided to gather all his possessions and harvest together and thought he was set fair for the future, only to die that very night (Luke 12.16-21). Jesus concluded that it is pointless to store up things for ourselves if it means not being “rich toward God” (Luke 12.21).


I’m 63 and I’ve started planning for my retirement. What will we do to keep active? Where will we live? Will our pensions be enough? Well, that story of the rich fool has weighed heavily on me and led me to reconsider my own values and priorities as I think about the years to retirement. My sabbatical last year gave me the opportunity to consider many things about my own spiritual life, and one of my key conclusions was that I needed to work harder at being “rich toward God” even if that meant thinking differently about money and possessions.


On one occasion, when teaching about giving to charity, Jesus said “...do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing...” (Matthew 6.3). What did he mean? I think he meant that when we give to charity, we should not let our “spiritual” impulse to be generous be overcome by the “worldly” wisdom to keep what we have entirely for ourselves. Yet, most of us church people, including me, give less than we could comfortably afford to give whilst also fully allowing for our own needs.


We find it difficult to allow our spiritual “right” hand to give freely when the worldly “wisdom of

our “left” hand wants to hold it back telling us we might not have enough for the gas and electricity, for the future, for our children’s inheritance. The truth is that we suffer spiritually when we do not allow ourselves to give freely and joyously from what God has given us. We can choose to give graciously out of gratitude to God and love for those in need. We can learn to give

generously out of faith in God’s good purposes for us, rather than over-cautiously out of fear for

the future. We can learn to give generously, and within our means, but without “counting the

cost”.

This Easter, how will we respond to God’s love and gracious generosity to each of us made

known in Jesus Christ?


With my prayers for a spiritually fruitful Lent and a blessed and joyful Easter.



Revd. John Kronenberg

E vicar@stjohnsredhill.org.uk



Taken from St John's Parish Magazine - Spring 2023


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