Dear Friends in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina,
Get real. This is perhaps the central call of God through the season of Lent. The forty days of introspection and renewal are not so much prescription as they are a journey, one in which we move into greater awareness of who we are, especially in our relationship to God and to one another.
Get real. Standing with Jesus on the holy mountain of Transfiguration, we discover once again our baptismal reality as proclaimed by God to Jesus, “You are my beloved.” Facing the chaos of Lent, we do so standing secure in this promise as we come down the mountain, as Jesus did, to face the reality of the cross and to be a self-offering for the transformation of the world. He was offering a new way of self-giving love in order to lead us to a clearer vision of God’s desire for God’s people.
Get real. Lent is a time to re-discover who you are as God’s own, fully awake to the gift and challenge of what it is to be human, yet dependent on God’s mercy and love in utter vulnerability. This was Jesus’ great gift to the world as he faced his own humanity and discovered how best to offer himself to the glory of God and the healing of the world.
Get real. Be honest about the struggle, the challenge and the difficulty of being faithful people in this time of upheaval where everything seems up for grabs. It does often feel like wilderness. What are we called to leave behind? What new way of thinking and believing are we to embrace? Be honest that, even as we work hard in our faith communities, we do not have all the answers as we gaze into the future before us. Trust that it is the way of healing, meaning and significance.
So – get real. God is with us even as it is the Spirit who leads us into the rare yet rich wildness of Lent to embrace once again our dependence on God’s mercy. It is the only way Jesus faced the cross. It is the way we are to face life.