That Time in Lent
posted on March 20
That Time in Lent
“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right,
for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”
So, we are almost halfway through the Lenten season. How’s it going for you? One of my disciplines is to listen to a new song every day; I admit, some nights I fall into bed searching my phone quickly for a song, just so I can say “I did it.” That was not at all the point of the discipline. The point was to give my mind and heart an opportunity to expand by hearing something new each day, to respond to new notes and new lyrics in my life. The point was reflection, not hurried obedience.
Now is a good time to take a “balcony view” of your Lenten disciplines. If you are growing in grace, how does it feel? If you’re not, how do you feel? What are you learning as you take a look in the mirror at your own humanity? When Jesus set his own face to go to Jerusalem in Luke 9:51, he had a certain resolve. It’s the resolve we all take on when the ashes are drawn on our heads, but sometimes we “fall away” or even fall asleep. Some of the disciples did the same. Jesus had a resolve many of us lack; that’s why he is the Messiah and we are not.
I’m writing to ask you to keep on keeping on, but treat yourself with kindness. Cut yourself a little slack. Love yourself, that you might also love your neighbor, too. Perhaps not judging yourself so harshly will give you some freedom not to judge others so harshly. Give yourself some grace, and you may find that you can offer it more freely to others.
One of the “close moments” with God that I have experienced this season was during our bi-district worship service last Saturday, held jointly with the great folks from Yadkin Valley. We had a tremendous Northern Piedmont presence that day, and I want to thank the over 300 people who came out to worship and to hear the Bishop share his reflections on General Conference. My close moment came when I was given the opportunity to anoint persons who came forward for healing, and to minister alongside General Conference delegates Lynne Gilbert and Robert Upchurch as they served Holy Communion. Thank you also for your offering to UMCOR for the recent disasters in Alabama. We raised $1,852.58 and our two districts came together to bring the total to $2,000! That money is on its way to UMCOR as I draft this note to you.
I hope that you will remember during this season to continue to practice generosity. Be generous with yourself, with others, with your congregations, with your neighbors, with those you meet in the marketplace and at intersections in our cities. “Do not grow weary in well-doing”, as my grandmother used to teach me from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. I’m thankful to be on this journey with you, and I continue to pray for your Holy Lent.
Blessings, Bev Coppley