Grace and Peace, Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus, on this Ash Wednesday.
I want to begin with a huge thank you for your attentiveness to the work of the recent Special Session of the General Conference. Your interest in and prayers for the mission of The United Methodist Church are heartening. You showed up big for the simulcast. At this count, more than 2300 people went to one of 26 sites and over 1000 have viewed the archive of the event. Let’s keep learning and loving together in order to engage the mission more effectively.
On the simulcast I had the opportunity to answer several questions that came in by email and text. There were hundreds of questions that came in. Members of our conference staff are going through the questions to put like questions together. When this process is completed, we will begin responding succinctly and posting the responses to the conference website.
We all go about the pilgrimage to the cross and empty tomb in a variety of ways. I hope you will find a meaningful way to engage your heart and mind on what Jesus the Christ is teaching you and calling you to in this season. I would like to recommend a book to you that was recently commended to me by a colleague and friend. it is entitled, Cave , Refectory, Road: Monastic Rhythms for Contemporary Living by Ian Adams. Below is a quick glance at the direction of the book offered by the publisher:
- The cave: the place of stillness, prayer, and withdrawal that can inspire a new engagement with the mystery of God
- The refectory: how monastic practices of hospitality can create communities that make a difference in the world
- The road: how the example of the friars can lead to creative and loving engagement with public life
I think Adams is spot-on that our wholeness and our witness depend on having healthy, rhythmic portions of stillness, hospitality and outward engagement. This Lent may be just a time for each of us to reclaim these gifts for the living of these days.
Yours in Christ Jesus,
+Bishop Gregory V. Palmer