Bishop DeDe’s reflection for Ash Wednesday and Lent, 2017.
Dear People of Central New York:
I pray this is a blessed Ash Wednesday for you.
In forty days we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ; the Easter moment when God changed everything. God’s power redeems all fear with love, each act of oppression with liberation, and even the finality of death with eternal life. Those supported by Alcoholics Anonymous know the first step in any personal renewal begins with a recognition that we are powerless to change without a higher power; that we are dust and to dust we shall return.
These forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter are the church’s season of Lent. It is a time set apart for repentance, which is the sacred act of turning around and changing our minds. This is the season of the sacred do-over. We start over and renew our dedication to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. We try again to love others as God loves us. What is often called a Lenten discipline helps us to keep these commitments at the center of our lives.
If you could remove one barrier between you and God, what would it be? If you could do one thing to open up more fully to God, what might that be? Your answer may be a Lenten discipline for you to prayerfully consider. And know that there may be some vulnerability and fear associated with this change. But take heart because change is an invitation to new life!
As a result of your Lenten discipline, how will you be different on Easter morning? How will you experience new life?
This Lent, may you rediscover the resurrected, liberating and life-giving love of Jesus Christ.
Many blessings to you all on this holy day and in this holy season.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe
Bishop of Central New York