Feb. 14, 2018
Dear friends in Christ in the Florida-Bahamas Synod,
On Ash Wednesday, as we once again enter into the season of Lent and focus on Jesus’ journey to the cross, we do what we’ve done before. We reflect. We repent. We re-affirm God’s passionate love for the world through our words and actions. Just like doing something special for a loved one even though we’ve done it before, Lent offers us a season to repeat and reflect on truths we’ve heard before. But, though the messages may be familiar, the lessons and transformations are new each year. What this story does to us each time we hear it is different. Where Christ shows up in the world each time we share it is different.
We use repetition to teach our children…and to learn ourselves. We use repetition to tend to, restore, and strengthen relationships. We are people who learn through repetition. And when we model again a season of prayer, contemplation and service, our children learn (and we learn too) that there is something important about repenting…again and again. There is something important about serving…again and again. There is something important about praying…again and again.
In the season of Lent (and throughout the year), we are invited to reflect again and again on what Jesus did on the cross. We tell this story so our children will learn it. We tell it over and over so that we internalize it, and remember that Jesus was passionate about his love for us. Lent leads us to the “Passion story.” And what he did during his three years of ministry—he was passionate about that, too.
We learn something different each time we live these 40 days.
This year, instead of giving up something…what might we repeat and reflect on that will make a difference? Could we repeat a trip to the grocery store and buy an extra bag of groceries for our local food pantry? Could we repeat a phone call and check in on a friend or loved one again? Could we repeat a visit to a local nursing home and visit another resident who doesn’t have family close by? Could we take another 10 minutes each day for prayer? And what might we learn from these repetitions that we haven’t noticed before? Where do these encounters reveal the passionate love of Christ for us and for the world?
May you, again and again, receive and be transformed by the love of Christ this Lent.
Pedro M. Suarez
Bishop, Florida-Bahamas Synod