Lenten Message from Bishop Dease
Dear North Georgia United Methodists,
In these days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, the reality of our season of fasting and repentance comes quickly. Can we live into the commitments we've made in terms of how we spend our time and how we spend our money? Can we keep up our fast or will we break? The season of Lent is hard. Sometimes we just want Easter to hurry up and get here.
The problem with skipping ahead to Easter is that we miss God's invitation to us today. God knows we have drifted and wandered from where we were created to be. God knows we have made mistakes and ignored opportunities to serve others. God calls to us, "Return to me."
I like the writings of the late author Rachel Held Evans. She posed some questions to ask ourselves during Lent. I keep these questions tucked in my Bible and refer to them often. I'd like to share them with you.
10 Questions to Ask Yourself
1 When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different?
2 From what do I need to repent?
3 Is there one particular sin in my life that repeatedly gets in the way of loving God with my whole heart or loving my neighbor as myself? How do I address that sin over the next 40 days?
4 Is there anyone in my life from whom I need to ask forgiveness or pursue reconciliation?
5 What distractions most commonly interfere with my time in prayer/Scripture?
6 What spiritual discipline do I need to improve upon or want to try?
7 What are some things in my life that I tell myself I need, but I don't?
8 Why am I giving this particular thing up? How does giving it up draw me closer to God and prepare me for Easter?
9 What am I going to tell myself when self-denial gets hard?
10 Is it necessary/helpful for me to share the nature of my fast with others or should I keep it private?
As we ask and answer these questions, may we be reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May each of us observe a Holy Lent.
Yours in Christ,
Resident Bishop, North Georgia Conference
The United Methodist Church