As the holy season of Lent draws to a close and we make our way closer to the cross, I find myself giving thanks for this season of self-examination and repentance. This surprises me because Lent is not my favorite season of the year. While I know that living a life centered in God requires a level of self-awareness that comes, in part, from the fruits of our Lenten observances, the prospect of exercising more discipline or getting ‘real’ about the ways in which my life does not align with the precepts of our faith is not always welcome. Yet, I have found over and over again that it is only through this discipline, only through this reality check, that we can move into the future that God wants for us.
We are in the process of creating and recreating a life together as a diocese. In moments such as these, we can feel God’s imagination stirring in us and giving shape to a new common life. Our creativity and imagination, though, can become misshapen if we avoid the hard work of self-examination, if we are unaware of the internal forces that drive us. Our motives for seeking a particular direction or advocating a particular end are purest when they are grounded in our willingness to do the hard work of reconciling with those from whom we are alienated. We do ourselves less credit, and move away from God’s preferred future, when we simply try to assuage our own pain.
Our upcoming engagement with Holy Week and the Easter season is an opportunity to reconcile ourselves to the God who call us, individually and as a diocese, to a new hope and a new future. We are invited to participate in creating that future. We are invited to engage the imagination of God. With the invitation comes a call to self-examination and a challenge to live a life centered in God.