Many of us are familiar with the old hymn (398 in our UM Hymnal) with words by Cecil Alexander, “Jesus Calls us…O’er the tumult of our life’s wild, restless sea.” That song comes to mind as the season of Lent approaches once again, and we are invited to respond to the great mystery of life. How is it that only when we empty ourselves, we can be filled with God? “As of old, the apostles heard it by the Galilean lake, turned from home and toil and kindred, leaving all for Jesus sake."
As Wisconsin United Methodists, I invite us to take together the path of self-emptying and continuous journeying with God, who is the source of grace and wholeness. As congregations, let us gather for learning, prayer, and worship in small groups or larger gatherings. As individual followers of Christ, let us make time for self-examination, solitary walks, and personal retreats, where we will encounter Christ in much the same way that Jesus walked the roads of Palestine on his solitary journey to the Cross.
This Lent, as we gather together, or when we find our times of solitude, and as we empty ourselves so God can fill us, let us remember for what purpose we are on the spiritual journey. "Jesus calls us! By thy mercies, Savior, may we hear thy call, give our hearts to thine obedience, serve and love thee best of all." The purpose of our journey is to find ourselves and our Church in obedient service - obedient service, as we seek to live out the invitation of Jesus Christ to share the love and light of God; living and giving, while touching the lives of others in mercy and healing.
Recently, Nicole Wilken, our Field Coordinator for the Wisconsin Conference Imagine No Malaria Campaign, wrote a letter about her dream of what can happen when we as believers empty ourselves, become filled with God, and find ourselves in obedient service. Nicole says, “In the fight against malaria, the lives of women and children and their families are being saved every day because the people of the United Methodist Church decided it was time to act.” You can read her entire letter here. I invite you to do so as part of your Lenten journey.
Jesus calls us to a journey as congregation, and as individual believers, from our life’s wild restlessness to the presence of God and by the power of God launched to the world in service for Jesus Christ,
Grace and Peace,
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).