What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

05 March 2017

Not So Fast

I think I've finally nailed down my Lent for this year, maybe. We'll see what this week brings. But unless something drastic comes to my attention, I'm ready to go--and only four days after Ash Wednesday. See, I told y'all I'm not an expert at Lent.

There's an adorable line in the Hayley Mills movie The Trouble with Angels, when the two main characters have sneaked off to smoke some cigars Ms. Mills' character found. Her friend says, "I don't think I like them," she responds, "So you have something you hate to give up for Lent," and the friend says, "Good thinking!" Cute for a movie, totally fine attitude for a teen who has not yet come into her own faith. Not really the approach I'm after--and I hope you're not, either.

Image source: freeimages.com.
The nature of this sort of fast isn't just in the abstaining. It's in the replacing. Long before he made the sacrifice that we honor on Good Friday, Jesus reminded his followers that God calls us to mercy. It's not enough to go to the temple and make an offering; it's also about how we treat others when we leave. It's about who I am at work, or at the supermarket, or while riding my bike. In my few extra minutes I find by not doing a thing, am I working to make the world around me brighter? A little kinder, a bit more pleasant to be in? Is everyone I encounter today going to walk away feeling that the world is not so bad, because I managed to put them before myself for a few minutes?

I'm pretty sure the answer is no, because I don't have this life thing figured out yet. But I don't think "goodwill to all" needs to be confined to the Christmas season. I think it properly belongs in Lent, too. There are real hurts, real needs, real problems in the people around us--what a better time to meet those needs than now, when the thoughts of so many turn to sacrifice? It's critical not to get so wrapped up in the giving up that mercy is forgotten. Without the mercy, the sacrifice is meaningless.

And neglecting mercy is an excellent thing to give up for Lent.

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