By Elena Robles, Hunger Advocacy Fellow
This is the first year that I’ll be partaking in a Lenten discipline, as a part of exploring the many ways in which I can deepen my faith and understanding of Jesus. In being as transparent with myself as possible, I welcome this time before spring arrives to brush off some of the spiritual lethargy that I have allowed to set in. It’s easy for me to become consumed by the injustices of this world- systemic violence, wars, the persecution and rejection of many of our neighbors. While I do see empathy as an expression of my spirituality, it can be limiting when action is not coupled with it.
Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”(New Living Translation, John 7: 37-38)
Jesus offers us the opportunity for a deeper transformation and deeper access to the divine fountain. Lent can serve as an opportunity to awaken to our shortcoming, our complacencies to violence, and can push us into a deeper connection between ourselves, our communities, the world and the divine. Personally, my lesson during this season is to focus on deepening my spiritual practices beyond merely being a witness in this world. Deepening faith will help me to live into what theologians like Kelly Brown Douglas refers to as the moral imagination:
“With a moral imagination one is able to live proleptically, that is, as if the new heaven and new earth were already here. This means one’s life is not constrained by what is. It is oriented toward what will be.”-Kelly Brown Douglas, Stand your Ground
We are capable of living out a world where the dignity of black and brown lives is valued, where violence is not a worry for children anywhere,and where the environment is not exploited. We are capable of building a better world, one that acknowledges our short comings and yet seeks more. Moral imagination is this and more, it dares us to have vision, commitment, and to find redemption. I know that in all of this, I need to work towards an inward transformation. I’m seeking to build a better relationship with God, so that while I can practice deeply listening, I can equally trust in the spirit to move us toward action.