Presiding bishop’s Lent Message 2013

'Learn more, give alms, share what you have'

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presents a challenge in her Lent Message 2013 to pray, fast, study and give alms.

“As you engage this Lent, I would encourage you to pray, to fast, to act in solidarity with those who go without,” she offers. “Learn more, give alms, share what you have.”

The Presiding Bishop’s video message, filmed at a park in New York City, is available here.

The following is the text of the Presiding Bishop’s message.


Lent Message, 2013

I wish you a blessed Lent.

Lent is the ancient season of preparation. Preparation for Baptism at the Easter Vigil and it’s a season of solidarity with those who are being formed to be disciples of Jesus and missionaries in God’s mission.

We form people in a sense that God dreams of a healed world, a world restored to peace with justice, and some of the ancient images of that healed world are those of the prophets. One of the famous ones from Isaiah is an image of people having a picnic on a mountainside, enjoying rich food and well-aged wine. That image of being well-fed is particularly poignant in a world like ours where so many go hungry.

Lent is a time when we pray, when we fast, when we study, when we give alms. It’s a time of solidarity and it is particularly a time to be in solidarity with the least of these.

As you prepare for your Lenten season and your Lenten discipline, I’d encourage you to think about consciousness in eating. That’s really more what fasting is about than giving up chocolate. Being conscious of what you eat, standing in solidarity with those who are hungry, whether it is for food, or shelter, or peace, or dignity, or recognition, or for love.

When we stand in solidarity in terms of eating, we might consider what we are eating and how we are eating it and with whom we are eating, and I’d invite you to consider some of the challenges that are around us. Many leaders in this United States part of the church have engaged in an act of solidarity with the poor by trying to live on a food stamp budget for a week. That’s about $4 a person per day. And it’s very, very difficult to find adequate calories and reasonably nutritious food for that kind of a budget. But it would be an act of solidarity with those who do go without every day and every week. An act of solidarity like that might increase your consciousness about those who go hungry, it might increase your own consciousness about what you eat, and it might provide an opportunity to share some of your largesse, some of what you save from that kind of eating with those who go without.

The violence in our country, the violence around the world is most often an act in response to those who don’t have enough. Those who are hungry, those who ache for recognition and dignity, those who struggle for peace.

Your and my preparation for the great Easter festival can be an act of solidarity with the least of these. As you engage this Lent, I would encourage you to pray, to fast, to act in solidarity with those who go without. Learn more, give alms, share what you have. Be conscious about what you eat.

A blessed, blessed Lent this year.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Comments

  1. re: food stamp budget number. Try a month on $16.00.

  2. Bill Demerath-Shanti says:

    I thank you for your message. I wonder what you mean by “The violence in our country, the violence around the world is most often an act in response to those who don’t have enough. Those who are hungry, those who ache for recognition and dignity, those who struggle for peace.” Unless you have a different or a much more narrow definition of violence than I have witnessed before, I am not sure what you base the statement on. I think of poverty, especially hunger, as a form of violence in our world. I also consider the United States abuse of military power and abuse of world resources (environment), and laborers in the name of profits to be violent. Did you mean “to those who don’t have enough” or did you mean “by”. I know that violence does often accompany poverty, but it seems it more often accompanies greed. I am concerned that this kind of one sided presentation of violence helps to dehumanize or even demonize especially the very poor. I am not saying that you do this, but this kind of talk which either is lacking in definition or is lacking truth.

    • Cathy Kincaid says:

      Bill, you are very naive if you think that violence does not accompany poverty. Look at the world’s terrorists who started out just grabbing for more than they had. Bitter poverty mkes young men hard. Read “The Good Earth” by Pearl Buck, and try to understand the part that says : “There is a way when the rich are too rich, and there is a way when the poor are too poor.” Selling a child is as much an act of violence as charging a rich man’s house. This is not demonizing the poor, it’s just accepting reality. What would you not do for your starving child or parent? The poverty itself is violent. Oppression breeds violence. The bishop’e message demonizes those who will not share, and those who stand by and watch bad things happen. Poverty is a very bad thing.

  3. Doug Desper says:

    I would hasten to suggest that Jesus would be a good example to learn from during Lent. Those among us who recommend “doing” may want to first practice Christ-like “being” in order to live among the principalities and powers. External disciplines such as sharing and self-restraint naturally flow from a soul grounded in dependence, trust, and contentment in God’s purposes. Yes, I think that we should not fail to mention that Jesus would make a fine example to learn from during Lent.

  4. stewart david wigdor says:

    God is for Joy:
    God is with us
    Is the hope of all religious faith; hope based on Sacred Scripture read through the lips of our heart, so spoken to listen.
    God likes us to remember His Name, Holy Name for he who knows it is Holy;
    God is within
    is the real start of Heaven Reality described by this premie of Maharaji as a welcome an invitation to enter Gods Heart from pyaying in yours to Jesus the Lord
    “I in them You in Me that they may be made perfect in one.( John 17 verse 23).
    God is revealed
    is the true Knowledge of His Love
    Praise him in each Cathedral.
    God is for Joy.

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