“Remember who you are.” Those words echo through my soul during the season of Lent. This year the challenge to remember who I am is coupled with the vision of the Desert Southwest Conference. You know the vision statement:
We are called to be a courageous church: loving like Jesus, acting for justice, united in hope.
“Remember who you are.” Identity is an important issue to consider. Identity shapes how you live, what you choose to do, the words you speak. I believe there are times when our words and actions do not reflect who we want to be. That is when Lent guides us to reflect, repent, remember, and renew the connection between identity and behavior.
The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) has prepared Lenten devotional material to aid us in our journey for the next few weeks. The series is called “Roll Down Justice.” http://www.gcorr.org/roll-down-justice-a-lenten-biblical-reflection/ I invite you to join me in reading through the devotions, perhaps use the discussion guide with your family or a small group of people. Now before we begin our Lenten Journey on February 26, 2020, I want to let you know that the weekly devotions may be a bit challenging. GCORR has a way of challenging our discipleship by looking through the lens of today’s social concerns. Don’t let that keep you from making use of the resources they provide. Instead, allow the resources to stir your heart to consider more deeply the challenge to “Remember who you are.”
Often during Lent we are asked to give up something, a sacrificial act. There are times we are asked to pick up something to shape our faith. This year I want to give you a new Lenten paradigm. With each week’s devotion connect identity and behavior. When you remember who you are, how does that empower you to love like Jesus or act for justice or be united with others in hope? Be very conscious of the connection between identity and behavior throughout the 40 days of lent. Let it be present when you go to the store, or are at the doctor. Let it be present at home or at church. Let the connection be present when you are talking with your best friend or most difficult co-worker.
Remember who you are during Lent.
As we begin this journey together, I would like to share a prayer by Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling, from the Worship Design Studio, Roll Down Justice Lenten worship series. (©2017 www.worshipdesignstudio.com/wds)
There are days when it is harder to pray than others;
days when the disappointments of yesterday still
linger in the memory as the weight of the day
ahead feels too heavy to bear.
And yet, these are the days we need prayer the most.
There are seasons in a relationship where it is harder
to love than others; seasons where the unbridled
joy and endless hope have been harnessed by the
realities of careers, parenting, debt, aging, disappointments,
and growing apart.
And yet, these are the seasons we need to love one another
There are times in our lives of faith when it is harder
to remain faith-filled than others; times when the dark
night of the soul remains through sunrises too numerous
to count, and the hope of relief seems afar off.
And yet, these are the times when we need our faith the most.
Speak to us anew in days, seasons, and times that are parched and passionless,
and refresh the dry places in our lives.
Speak to us in the deep, secret places where others cannot
enter and your voice reverberates our entire being.
Speak to us anew, Holy God. Amen.
Remember who you are this holy Lenten season, and in remembering your identity, let it form us into a Courageous Church and Courageous disciples of Jesus Christ.
Praying for a holy lent for all of us.