Lent is the beginning of our time of searching our souls and as the Prophet Joel says, rending our garments. Throughout the Lenten Season, we sacrifice our temporal wants and desires to discover again the deeper needs of our mind, body, soul, and spirit in light of God’s eternal perspective. We find the courage to acknowledge our frail mortality and our great need for GOD.
We begin this journey by repenting of our sins and silence in the face of the pains and problems of those less fortunate than us. We acknowledge our pride and arrogance over the next 40 days as we enter this time of self-denial, fasting, prayer, alms giving and serving others. Let us hear God speak to us through the Prophet Joel 2:12-14 as the season of Lent begins.
“Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your hearts, with fasting, with weeping, and with sorrow; tear your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, very patient, full of faithful love, and ready to forgive.” (CEB)
What did you give up for Lent? What are you anticipating will happen throughout this 2021 Lenten season? What spiritual disciplines will you engage? What temptations will you resist? To what spiritual longing will you return?
Remember that Lent is not just an individual time of reflection; it is also a time for us to reflect and respond as a community. As your journey throughout these next 47 days let us also pay attention to the needs and opportunities beyond our personal piety that God may be inviting you to engage.
Yesterday we received a call at the District Office asking “can our choir sing together” in church this Easter? Our response was “not yet” or not like you remember singing during Easters of years past. We continue to encourage churches to follow the CDC and FLUMC Conference guidelines. The good news is that we were also able to redirect the caller to many of our churches throughout the district who have discovered ways to safely sing and praise God.
As we enter our eleventh month of the pandemic and vaccines are being distributed, I want to again thank you for your faithful leadership to Christ, the church, the community and to each other. I have seen and heard amazing testimonies of how our Gulf Central Districts Clergy and Church leaders have continued to lead with innovation and live resiliently. We have learned so much about ourselves, our families, neighbors, communities, church, and our world in this season. Let’s continue to be diligent in our practices that will help prevent the spread of virus.
Blessings as you Begin this 2021 Lenten Season.
Dr. Rev. Candace Lewis
Superintendent, Gulf Central District