It is a great honor to be able to have this opportunity to share a part of my faith tradition with the community of Williamsport. I am the priest in charge of three parishes of GLEAM (Greater Episcopal Area Ministry). We are about to enter the liturgical session of Lent. Lent begins Feb. 13 on Ash Wednesday. Lent is a session where many Christians focus on their mortality and preparing their hearts and minds for God's judgment. The imposition of ashes is both a sign to the person of their mortality and to the world that they are in a relationship with God, the giver of life.
The intent of focusing God's eventual judgment is not to beat up on yourself. It is to improve your relationship with God by increasing the openness and honesty of the relationship with God. Solomon prayed, "Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth - you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way" (2 Chronicles 6:14). This quote shows us that that God both loves us and wants us to follow in God's way wholeheartedly. I submit that the best way to do this is through increasing the strength of your relationship with God.
Most of us recognize that the best way to increase the strength of a relationship is to increase the communication between the individuals in the relationship. Linear communication has a sender and receiver. Most Christians believe that the primary way we communicate with God is through prayer. One reason that Christians live in community is that we believe that God not only communicates with us through our own thoughts but also through the other people within our faith community. Our faith community helps us discern the gifts that God has given us and the best use for those gifts. Paul uses the metaphor of the human body to illustrate the importance of Christian community. In his metaphor Paul makes it clear that we are all different and that these differences are our strength. The faith community is the main way in which God communicates with us.
Even if you do not practice the tradition and practice of Lent, I hope that you will use this opportunity to improve your communication with God by increasing your time in prayer, letting God know what is in your heart and soul, and spending time with others of faith so that you can spend time listening to what God may be saying to you. May you be blessed through your time of reflection.
- Kerr is the rector for GLEAM (Greater Episcopal Area Ministries).