For me, Lent is always an invitation to look inward and to reflect on my life journey. Where has God taken me this past year? What has God asked of me? Where have I fallen short? What needs to change? The spiritual disciplines of fasting and prayer help me look inward, and come to terms with what I find when I take the time to look. These spiritual practices allow time for God to reveal to me the truth of who I am becoming.
I invite you to take time for fasting and prayer, and to reflect on your life journey during this season of Lent.
The inward look leads somewhere. We do not fast and pray just to find the truth of who we are, but to discover where God wants to go with us. Peter Chrysologus, a Bishop of the early Church, is reported to have preached, "The fasting man should realize what fasting is. If anyone wants God to perceive that he is hungry, he should himself take notice of the hungry."
The author of the Letter of James wrote, "What good is it my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead." (James 2:14-17 NRSV)
In this season of Lent, I invite you to join with me. I invite you to join me as we set aside time in our lives through prayer and fasting to take the inward look, so as to gain an outward view. We may examine ourselves so we more easily identify with the needs of others, and discover many ways God will lead us to make a difference in the world.
Prayer: God, make this Lenten journey, and the prayers and fasting, a deep and rich time for reflection and growth. And then, Holy God, bring to mind and heart the needs of the world and a fitting response. Amen.
Hee-Soo Jung, PhD
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).