During the season of Lent, we will as a community be studying the book Embracing the Uncertain: A Lenten Study for Unsteady Times by Margrey deVega, a UM pastor from Florida. All are invited to participate in discussion groups that will be happening during the weeks of Lent (sign-ups are in the welcome area), or you can pick up a book in the church office to read on your own. On Sunday mornings, we will be further examining each chapter as well.
“Embracing the Uncertain”—in all honesty, as I have been pondering the title of the book, my first reaction has been to wonder if this is at the very least an oxymoron (like “jumbo shrimp”, etc.) or simply a very counterintuitive suggestion. After all, who wants to embrace the uncertainties of life? If you are like me, when areas of uncertainties arise in my day-to-day existence, I am more likely to try to deny them or even escape them in a haze of false assurances that “everything is going to be okay.” But embrace them?
In the forward to the book, Rev. deVega reminds us that the season of Lent in many ways is a time filled with uncertainty, at least Biblically speaking. Imagine that you are one of the disciples journeying with Jesus in his final days on earth. Imagine the uncertainties you would feel as you hear the predictions that he is making about his own fate. Stand alongside Peter, who more than once basically told Jesus to “stop talking like that!” (a classic case of denial if there ever was one). But as the book says, “Lent is an invitation for us to engage life’s uncertainties, not ignore them.”
This study is especially important for us living as we do in a world that is filled with uncertainties. As the subtitle suggests, we are in “unsteady times” in the world, in our country and in the church. Even our denomination faces uncertain times in light of our special General Conference that will have been held by the time you read this. And it can be easy to feel overwhelmed in the midst of it all. But for us followers of Christ, there is assurance to be found at the end of our Lenten journey. As Rev. deVega writes:
“It is only by embracing the uncertain that we can fully acknowledge the power
and the proof of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. It is at the empty tomb that
we discover that the ground has settled, our footing is sure, and that there is only
one source for a firm foundation upon which to build our lives.”
So it is my hope that you will be able to participate in our communal discussion of this very helpful book. And that you will, with the power of the Resurrection guiding you and empowering you, gain strength in your life of faith by embracing your uncertainties.