A Lenten Message from Bishop Barker
Beloved in Christ –Lent has arrived: the Church’s ancient annual season of repentance, fasting, prayer and self-denial. For the next six weeks, followers of Jesus the world over will seek to draw into deeper relationship with Christ, as we prepare for Easter in our Christian communities and in our own lives.The work commended to us in this season runs almost entirely counter to the culture in which we live. In this era of unprecedented affluence and convenience, our tolerance for discomfort seems to grow smaller with each passing year. But following after Jesus will always be an uncomfortable pursuit. From Christ’s teaching to, “give to everyone who asks,” to his call to, “love your enemies,” Jesus’ invitation is to live a life profoundly different from the world around us – a life marked by grace, joy, and abundant, unbounded, love. Through the example of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we are given a pattern for living that is both inspiring and powerful. As those who place our faith in him, we dare to live according to his way across all the days of our lives.The paradox of the Gospel is on full display in Lent, as we seek in our own personal and gentle ways to live according to Jesus’ way, remembering that power is made perfect in weakness, that in God’s Kingdom the last become first, that it is only by dying in Christ that we can be raised to new life in him. I pray that however you choose to observe Lent, you can find simple ways to do so that strengthen your own relationship with Christ and offer a witness to those you’re called to love. The way of Christian discipleship – exemplified in keeping a holy Lent – remains the best hope for restoring our lives to balance and peace, and for the future of the beautiful creation God has entrusted to our care.However you choose to turn towards Christ in the weeks to come, know that you cannot fail. God loves you, longs to be in deeper relationship with you, and will always bless your efforts to sincerely seek and serve. Faithfully Yours in Christ –   + Bishop Barker 


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