Dear brothers and sisters,
As the season of Lent draws near, it occurs to me how counter-cultural it really is. The culture tells us in many ways that our needs and desires come first, and that limiting ourselves by restraining our desires is somehow generally wrong. We also have a culture that tells us that busyness is required to get the most out of life.
But then we consider the standard Lenten disciplines of fasting, mediation, and prayer, all designed to help us set our hearts and minds on things that are above (see Colossians 3:1-4).
I want to recommend that as part of your Lenten reflections you meditate on these remarkable verses from Psalm 139 (ESV):
1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
Think about how you have never surprised the Lord, especially when you have sinned. Nevertheless out of his love he called you to himself, knowing all that you would think and do beforehand.
The culture tells us to know ourselves, which can be useful. But much more importantly we should trust in the Lord himself, knowing that he knows us far better than we ever will know ourselves in this lifetime.
Ask the Lord to show you more about yourself and more about his loving knowledge of you this Lent. And rejoice in his mercy!
In Jesus the Messiah,
The Rt. Rev. Neil G. Lebhar
Bishop of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese