By Bishop Jonathan Holston
“The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So, it is with everyone who is born of the spirit.”—John 3:8 (NRSV)
Often we have a tendency to close our eyes to the world around us and miss the opportunity to make a difference.
A story from the mid-1930s tells of a young man named Theodor Geisel. He had developed a new style for writing books. His approach was so different and unusual that he could not get anyone to take him seriously. Receiving little or no encouragement, he put his book together and submitted it to a publisher. That publisher rejected it, and he sent his book to another. Twenty-three times he submitted his manuscript, and 23 different publishers said no to Theodor Geisel.
Finally, the 24th publisher he approached decided to give him a chance and put his book in print. The book sold 6 million copies! What a tremendous testimony to never giving up on a dream.
By the way, Theodor Geisel’s middle name was … Seuss. His “pen name” was Dr. Seuss. One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Seuss is from “The Lorax,” saying, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
In the coming weeks, Christians all over the world will be observing the season of Lent. Traditionally a time of reflection, study and prayer, we seek the opportunity to live into the hope of a closer relationship with God.
It’s also a time to be difference-makers.
This Lenten season could be a time for United Methodist Christians in South Carolina to engage in civil, thoughtful and respectful discussion with those who share our opinions and with those whom we disagree around the significant issues in our community. While the pace of change in our society has perhaps never been more rapid than it is today, we are called to be faithful in our witness to Jesus Christ even when it feels risky and frightening to do so.
As followers of Christ in this Lenten season, let us be committed in our reflection, study and prayer to the hard work of peacemaking in our communities and beyond. That’s the way it should be with those born of the spirit.