Beloved in Christ Jesus, join me in this prayer:
God of all seasons,
In your pattern of things
There is a time for keeping
And a time for losing,
A time for building up
And a time for pulling down.
In this holy season of Lent,
As we journey with our Lord to the cross,
Help us to discern in our lives
What we must lay down
And what we must take up;
What we must end
And what we must begin.
Give us grace to lead a disciplined life,
In glad obedience
And with joy
Which comes from a closer walk with Christ. Amen
(From the Book of Common Order)
We are leaning into another Lent and the opportunity that it offers to intensify our gaze upon the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We do this through study, worship, service and the practice of particular disciplines. Sometimes we dust off old practices or adopt new ones for a season. However we come at it, we are encouraged to keep the focus on Jesus and the hope that his life will shape and form our lives from the inside out.
Isaiah 58:1-12, one of the texts for Ash Wednesday is very helpful in this regard. Take a few minutes to read it. You will note at least these three things:
- We are called to accountability for the ways our lives, individually and corporately, are out of alignment with the will and purpose of God.
- We are called to a disciplined life without regard to self interest and only a single eye to please God.
- Spiritual practices and disciplines, done right and done well glorify God and free us to serve our neighbor and seek the common good.
This is how I intend to plunge in this Lenten season and prepare for the Feast of Easter. May God use us all to repair the breach and restore the streets.
Yours in Christ,
+Bishop Gregory V. Palmer