This Lent we are thinking together about the times in our lives that author Eric Elnes calls the “Dark Wood,” taken from a line in Dante’s “Divine Comedy”: “In the middle of the road of my life, I awoke in a Dark Wood where the true way was wholly lost.” Everyone is familiar with those very difficult times of failure, emptiness, disappointment, grief — or simply not knowing where our next step should take us.
But, there is good news for those times — and gifts in the Dark Wood. And, in our discovery of these sometimes well-hidden gifts, we will find not only new opportunities for spiritual awakening, but also the greatest gift of all: God’s unfailing love and grace that is always waiting for us, even in the darkest of times. I look forward to exploring these Dark Woods with you and the gifts we can find there.
Also during this season of Lent, which is for all of us a time of study, reflection, and self-examination, I urge you to consider others who may be living in the Dark Wood right now. How might we shine a light for them, even as we seek to light our own paths? How can we be a Gift in the Dark Wood for them? How might we help others experience God’s unfailing love and grace?
I invite you to prayerfully consider one way of doing that: share your blessings with others through a “second mile” Easter offering benefiting the following ministries. Give at fumcfw.org/givenow (choose Easter Offering from the drop down menu) or via check (with “Easter Offering” in your memo line.)
This year’s Easter Offering will support:
First Street Methodist Mission to provide emergency food, clothing, infant formula, and limited financial assistance with respect and compassion for all whom we serve.
Camperships for Children to provide a fun, safe summer experience for children in partnership with United Community Centers’ Summer Campership Program.
Kenya Orphan Endeavor to offer the opportunity for more than 180 Kenyan children to receive an education by supporting school scholarships and uniforms.
Lydia Patterson Institute to give bilingual student interns the opportunity to assist any church ministries that fit with their gifts and graces to promote Hispanic ministries.
Costa Rica Ministry partnering with other United Methodists around the world to support the Methodist Church in Costa Rica and their outreach programs.
Methodist Justice Ministry to protect women and children from domestic violence, abuse, and neglect, offering new lives free of violence, abuse, fear, and self-loathing.
Thank you for all you do to help make a difference in the lives of others as, together, we seek always to Love God, Serve People, and Transform Lives.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,