“I Thirst” is the statement carved on one of the sides at the Communion table in Goodson Chapel at Duke Divinity School. During Lent, as one enters into the chapel through the main entrance, this phrase is a reminder to the guests, the tourists, and the seminarians that being thirsty is a sign of a crisis in one’s body.
“I thirst” is the statement that keeps penetrating my mind and heart as I think about the last year and the ways in which the pandemic has caused a crisis in our personal lives, our families, our congregations, our communities, our nation, and in our world. Crises can be edifying or destructive. What has helped me in dealing with crises, is to see them as invitations.
The pandemic has become an invitation for me to be more creative in how I connect with people, how I use technology in ways that can help people engage with one another virtually, and how I exercise my works of piety and mercy.
The polarization in our country has become an invitation for me to learn more from the people I disagree with regarding political and theological convictions. It has become an invitation for me to go deeper in my relationships with others, especially people who are different.
The season of Lent is a season of thirst. The season of Lent is a season of crisis. The season of Lent is a season of invitation. During Lent, we are invited to be honest with ourselves and with one another. We are invited to examine ourselves so that we can identify our sins and the areas in our lives that reflect our thirst and the need of the waters that the prophet Isaiah assures us, never fail, and that will satiate our thirst once and for all.
God, during this season of Lent, relieve our thirst through your unfailing waters.
Rev. Ismael Ruiz-Millán is the Heritage District Superintendent