Getting ready to get ready

Bishop Gary E. Mueller

Bishop Gary E. Mueller

How many times has someone asked you, “What are you going to give up for Lent?” Probably more times than you can count. And, if you’re candid, you know their question often leaves you just a bit uncomfortable.

Do you share that you’re doing something personal you don’t want to talk about? Do you say the usual, like chocolate, dessert or sugar? Or do you just go ahead and admit that you’re a bit befuddled by Lent and aren’t sure what giving up something for a significant period of time has to do with anything that actually makes much of a difference?

That’s why you need to rethink Lent and see it as a time to get serious about God in an intentional and, perhaps, accountable way. Or a spiritual discipline that causes you to focus on God whenever you realize you’re missing something you like a whole lot. Or even a chance to make a sacrifice for the One who made the ultimate sacrifice for you.

For me, however, the best way of describing what’s going on during this period of time leading up to Easter is to understand that it’s a time of getting ready to get ready. We’re getting ready to experience the mystery and miracle of Jesus’ love on the cross. Getting ready to experience the awe and hope of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. And getting ready to experience spiritual revival that transforms us from the inside out.

Spiritual revival is not a three-day preaching event that happens once a year. It’s not an experience that makes you feel properly spiritual. It’s not even something we should try to manufacture. Spiritual revival happens when we’re so deeply moved by the Holy Spirit that we suddenly experience that we are forgiven, healed, compassionate, generous, passionate, joyful and more hopeful than ever before. So much so, in fact, that we’re ready to be disciples who make disciples who truly are equipped to transform lives, communities and the world.

I want you to know I’m praying that United Methodists throughout Arkansas, both lay and clergy, will be drawn deeper and deeper into spiritual revival beginning Ash Wednesday and continuing beyond Easter. I’m not sure where it’s going to take us. I don’t know what the results will be. But I’m perfectly fine with that. Because I can’t wait to see what God is going to do.

Grace and peace,

Gary E. Mueller