Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Our theme for this Lenten Season is CROSS IT UP! The theme invites us to re-examine our Lenten Disciplines. The traditional spiritual disciplines during Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Our Lenten theme, CROSS IT UP!, expresses the movement of a vertical relationship between us and God and the horizontal relationship between us and the world.
York River District Superintendent Reverend Seonyoung Kim asked us to pray every day for her to know God’s will and to do God’s will. During Lent, Rev. Kim’s prayer is an excellent prayer for us, both as individuals and as a congregation, to pray. In the vertical, we come to know God’s will. In the horizontal, we are challenged to do God’s will in the world.
Prayers make us available to God. Prayers create more time and space in our daily life for God. The vertical movement of prayer flows between us and God. In praying, we develop a conversation with God and engage God with our minds. Listening to God, we come to know God’s will. The horizontal movement of prayer flows between us and the world. Prayer energizes us to do God’s will in the world in action not only in words.
Fasting, from the extreme method of refraining from eating altogether to giving up a specific food, provides a method to listen with our bodies. Fasting is not about changing our bodies; fasting is about changing our relationship with God and with the world. In fasting, we develop a conversation with God (vertically) in which we come to know God’s will. In fasting, we listen to God with our bodies instead of our minds. While we fast, we also develop a conversation with the world (horizontally) in which we come to understand the pain hunger creates in the world. In fasting, we become motivated to do God’s will to feed the hungry.
Almsgiving, from the regular financial support of ministry to sacrificial giving, provides a method of knowing and doing God’s will through actions. The vertical movement of almsgiving during Lent calls us to a deeper awareness of God as the source of all the good in our lives: our life-force, our gifts, and even our money. In almsgiving, we come to know God’s will as abundance for us and for our world; we also come to a heightened awareness of the plight of people in our world. This awareness hones in us a desire to do more to help people in need. The horizontal movement of almsgiving connects us to God’s will for the world to be blessed; thus, we do God’s will through actions.
Lenten Disciplines place us in a relationship with God and with people. Lenten Disciplines provide a specific time when we cross it up!
CROSS IT UP! Seek to know God’s will, and when God’s will is made known to you, do it!
Grace and Peace,