In the second week of Lent, Bishop Ward recounts the admonition from Jesus to deny ourselves and take up the cross. She highlights ways we practice self-denial, take up the cross and follow Jesus.
Grace, peace and strength to you in these early days of Lent.
As we begin the Lenten journey together, the cross is in the center of our life. Jesus said, “Everyone who wants to be my follower needs to take up their cross and follow me.” So in this season of Lent, we do hard things. We discipline ourselves. We examine ourselves. We identify areas of our life – attitudes, relationships, ways of living – that need to be shifted and changed; that need to be overwhelmed by the love and grace of God.
We look at ways in which we need to be more reconciled to one another and to God through Jesus Christ. You practice this self-sacrifice, this self-denial when you set aside time to prepare well to teach a Bible study or Sunday school class. You practice self-denial when you carve out time to rebuild a home destroyed by Hurricane Matthew or when you work to collect food for a child and put it in a backpack so that that child will have food through the weekend.
Following Jesus, we practice self-denial. We watch the way He lived beautifully toward God with a heart overflowing in love. As we move through these Lenten days, let us take up our crosses. Let us follow Jesus faithfully and well.