We are now on this journey through the Season of Lent (a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday). I do not know about you, but every year leading up to Ash Wednesday, I begin stressing about what is the most adequate means of observing Lent. One year, I “gave up” Facebook (that was quite liberating); Another year, I “gave up” television (that was challenging); and then another year I “gave up” sweets (then I stopped “giving up” things). Then for a few years, I decided to “take on” for Lent, and it was things like reading through the Gospels, or I attending a Lenten Bible Study, or I “took on” greater service; the list is endless for what I tried. However, at the end of “giving up” or “taking on”, I did not feel closer to Jesus, honestly I felt empty. As I reflect, the emptiness was due to my wanting to do it right, and not grounding myself into the purpose for it all.
So, this year, as I prayerfully pondered to prepare myself, I decided my Lenten practice was just to BE! BE in the present moments of listening to God’s Spirit. BE willing to avail myself for greater service as a disciple of Jesus Christ. BE more intentional about my study of Scripture. BE more open to experience other spiritual disciplines. BE aware of God’s messages through my interactions with all of God’s people. Over the last several days, I have experienced a peace, but also a stretching because this fast is a means for me to decrease in my DOING, and become centered in my BEING. This is not easy in a cultured that is inundated by the Doing, but then I am reminded of an excerpt from Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God…”
Friends of the Central District, I am sure many of us have made declarations for what we have “given up” or “taken on” during this Season of Lent, and many are perhaps struggling to stay faithful to this commitment throughout this forty-day journey. May we remember that the Season of Lent is preparation for the celebration of Resurrection; after all, there can be no Easter unless there is a death. May I offer that our greatest transformation, during this Season of Lent, could be an opportunity to die to busyness and refocus on the business of what it means to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. What would that mean for our congregations, that we died to the busyness, and truly centered our service to BEing Christ-Centered in everything? I just wonder, if we collectively took this Season of Lent seriously and rid ourselves from the burdens of DOING, and decided to just BE…BE The Church; BE Christ hands and feet; BE more intentional about our witness; BE kind and grace-filled in our conversations? I just wonder what that transformation of the world could look like….perhaps we can try BEing the change for which we seek?
Dr. Aleze M. Fulbright
Conference Superintendent serving Central District