Lent 2019: A Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Action
A year ago, Ash Wednesday, a group of Christian elders from various denominations, including Michael Curry, The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, gathered for a retreat. This retreat produced a letter to the churches in this country, A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis. The letter begins: “We are living through perilous and polarizing times as a nation, with a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches. We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are now at stake.” The letter then continues: “It is time to be followers of Jesus before anything else—nationality, political party, race, ethnicity, gender, geography—our identity in Christ precedes every other identity. We pray that our nation will see Jesus’ words in us. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35)… The question we face is this: Who is Jesus Christ for us today? What does our loyalty to Christ, as disciples, require at this moment in our history? We believe it is time to renew our theology of public discipleship and witness. Applying what “Jesus is Lord’ means today is the message we commend as elders to our churches.”
I encourage you to read the entire letter and watch the recently released video, Lent 2019: A Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Action (https://sojo.net/articles/lent-2019-time-prayer-fasting-repentance-and-action). I also encourage you to share the letter and the video with others.
The season of Lent is indeed a time for us to recommit ourselves to being followers of Jesus before anything else, and to remember that our identity in Christ supersedes every other identity. If our primary loyalty is to Jesus and not our political party, not our country, not our family, and not our ethnic group, then there is hope that at least the Christian community in this country will be able to find common ground and be a source of healing in this divisive time. Our common commitment to the way of Jesus doesn’t mean that our divisions will cease overnight, but at least Christians will be responding to the right question: What is Jesus calling us to do?
At the end of the day, the church’s job is to be the church. Our vocation is to be obedient to the way of Jesus and trust that God can use the Church’s obedience to help bring into being a more just and compassionate world. This Lent pray that all Christians, regardless of denomination, will recommit to pledging their allegiance to Jesus—and to Jesus alone.