With Authenticity and Compassion
Joann Fisher of Boise, ID, USA
Let the church be admonished that the times are portentous and demand faithful adherence to the faith and work of the church, that mankind may be blessed by and find peace in those religiously social reforms and relationships which have been divinely imposed as a great task of achievement. -Doctrine and Covenants 137:6a
As I considered my response to the Lenten season of 2021, I must acknowledge that I have been profoundly shaped by the experiences of 2020. In some ways it feels as though we have been in a Lenten process for a while. In the past, I have heard others say, “I have given up chocolate (or you fill in the blank) for Lent.” Because of the pandemic, we have been forced to alter our usual routines and have “given up” socializing, in-person ministry, vacations, and gatherings for milestone life events. We have had to face questions of inequities; who and what is essential; and where to invest our time, talent, and treasure in a world with so many needs.
For me, the Lenten season feels oddly familiar as well as more focused this year. As I continue to have my usual daily activities altered, I find myself wrestling with whether I am living into whom I feel called to be. “Am I moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?”
Perhaps being less busy in one respect invites us to examine how we have avoided difficult questions regarding the way we have filled our days in the past. Questions like, why am I so upset with those who disagree with my point of view? Do I have prejudices that I may be afraid to admit? Am I willing to do the work it will take to change? Perhaps we need to have the courage to be honest and the compassion to listen deeply-not only with others but with ourselves. It is with authenticity and compassion that our answers will come. Answers to small questions as well as big ones will consistently point us toward Jesus, if that is our desire.
Let us move toward Jesus, the peaceful One, together. Not only for our sake, but for the sake of the world.
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
Gospel Contemplation (Mark 1:9-11)
Each week during Lent, you are invited to pray with a different gospel story from the life of Christ. Use your senses and imagination to enter the text. Allow it to come to life in you, observing details, noticing interactions, even engaging in dialogue. Notice where you find yourself in the story and how you feel about what is happening. Notice what it evokes in you or invites of you. Take time to journal or enter silent prayer to reflect on your experience and to sense where the Spirit may be leading you through this scriptural encounter.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.