Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Today we pray together the familiar words of the Book of Common Prayer:
“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (BCP 265)
Lent is meant to be a time of preparation, a time of focusing our minds and hearts on what God has done for us and what God intends for us. The Scriptures tell us what God has done for us, but the question of how we should respond to this tremendous gift can be hard to answer. So many of us approach Lent wondering what we should “give up” or “take on” to enter into the spirit of this holy season and to draw closer to God.
I don’t have an answer. Or, rather, I don’t have your answer. But when I meditate on God’s holy word, as the church asks us to do, I notice that after 40 days in the wilderness, 40 days of fasting, praying and wrestling with temptation, Jesus returns to the world he has always known, and this is what he says:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
As you prepare to observe the holy season of Lent, I invite you to meditate with me on how we as individuals and as a people can bring good news to the poor, to consider whom we ourselves oppress and how they can be set free, and to join with me and with the other members of our diocese in proclaiming in words and in actions the year of the Lord’s favor.
The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe