The Inward Look…For the Outward View
Scripture: James 2: 14-17 (NRSV)
Lent is always for me an invitation to look inward and to reflect on my life’s journey. Where has God taken me this past year? What has God asked of me? Where have I fallen short? What needs to change?
The spiritual disciplines of fasting and prayer help me to look inward and come to terms with what I find when I take the time to look. These spiritual practices allow time for God to reveal to me the truth of who I am becoming. I invite you to take time for fasting and prayer and to reflect on your life’s journey.
And the inward glimpse leads somewhere. We do not fast and pray to find only the truth of who we are but to discover where God wants to go with us. Peter Chrysologus, a bishop of the early church, is reported to have preached, “The fasting man should realize what fasting is. If anyone wants God to perceive that he is hungry, he should himself take notice of the hungry.”
We take the inward look to gain an outward view. We examine ourselves so that we might more readily identify with the needs of others and find ways to respond.
Prayer: God, make this Lenten journey, and the prayers and fasting, a deep and rich time for reflection and growth. And then, Holy God, bring to mind and heart the needs of the world and our fitting response. Amen
*Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, who leads the Wisconsin Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, is also a Global Ministries director and president of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).