We have arrived at the month of April, and we continue journeying through this Season of Lent. I would suggest there is growing anticipation as we near Resurrection Sunday; perhaps more this year than in previous years. I have been inspired by our Wednesday afternoon District Lenten conversations, as we explore the book Lent In Plain Sight (Lent in Plain Sight-Lenten Study 2022). This study is providing us with a new awareness to see God’s extraordinary in the ordinary.
I believe we are witnessing that as we look around and pay attention. A new season is indeed taking place in creation, as we have hopefully navigated the last lingering winter cues and the fullness of spring is unfolding with more comfortable temperatures and extended daylight. The dormant activities of winter are making way to the light of spring, and we see signs a new season is emerging when we look at the buds on trees and the blooms of flowers.
I would suggest we are entering a new season of life in general, as the last twenty-four months of Covid has stretched, tested, and evolved all of us; so much that what we knew as familiar two years ago is now irrelevant, and we have the opportunity to create new rhythms and reimagine new possibilities. Even in our United Methodist Church, we are entering a new season, with the widely publicized news of the twice-postponed 2020 General Conference being convened in 2024. This new season in the UMC is bringing about greater discernment and expanded conversations throughout the Indiana Annual Conference about what it means to live out the Christian witness in a Wesleyan tradition.
In thinking about new seasons, I am reminded of the excerpt from Isaiah 43:18-19a (The Voice), “Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak…” It is in this text, that we hear from the Prophet, as he speaks tender, encouraging, empowering words to those who faced an uncertain future. Oh, how we can take courage in hearing those words in these ever-evolving times. Perhaps in reflecting on this text, we can glean a few insights in the form of considerations that could help us navigate this new season. What would it be, in this new season, if we are being called to pay attention to the new life that is emerging and lean into the wind of God’s Spirit at work? What would it be, in this new season, if we are being invited to take the necessary time to appreciate the freedoms that this new season will present and live out that liberation? And finally, what would it be, in this new season, to remember that each season of life has a purpose and its provisions; we are simply called to be faithful.
Friends, new seasons are exciting as new life emerges, but it is also a little scary, as there are still unknowns surrounding what it will bring and what changes will be required of us with these new developments. The beauty of the changing season is that we do not have control over it, we must move through it…if we like it or not. So, in this new season, may we embrace all that may be before us…may we lean into the greater evidence of God’s Grace among us…and may we also remember that we are to resemble The One who was sent to serve and died to save…Jesus Christ!
Rev. Dr. Aleze M. Fulbright
Conferene Superintendent serving Central and West Districts