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February 20, 2020, 10:53 AM

Lent is a Season of the Christian year that is a journey from Ash Wednesday through Holy Week and to the Resurrection of Christ. In some ways, it reminds me of hiking or biking trips that required a minimal amount of gear for an uneventful trek. I tend to take too much stuff so the load gets heavier, and I will lose energy to travel the hoped for distance.

For the Lenten Journey, I suggest we travel light but expand our view. Thus I find the emphasis for Lent is one of soul searching. I suggest using Hospitality, Generosity, and Forgiveness as Walter Brueggemann has written. Lent calls us to repentance in our tendency of alienation and exclusion of others. The OTHER is often a person or peoples different from us and excluded. Differences exist in ethnicity, race, and religion.  Add to that other the LGBTQ persons and many more, then we sense that “different” raises our anxiety and fear.

Consider the practice this Lenten Season, that we might consider ways we have excluded the “other” from Church, from association, and from our awareness. Too much of Christianity in the U.S. is built consciously or unconsciously on excluding others. We fail in Hospitality, Generosity, and Forgiveness towards those who are different. Jesus would have none of it! Perhaps this Lent we could read, talk, and learn more. Perhaps we might see the image of God, see Jesus in those “others” whom we fear if we choose inclusivity over exclusivity.

So I invite you to consider in your prayer and devotion, to set aside resistance of the “other”. God is often found in the “other” whom we have feared because they are different, or have something about themselves that has not been examined in Prayer and learning.

We live in a dark time when fear of the “other” is generated in the media almost daily. Maybe during Lent, we could practice the “do not fear” of scripture. Maybe we can engage, embrace, and include the “other”, remembering too that God is “other”.

Forty days call us to a path of humility as we journey through Lent. May we find ourselves together as we embrace the “other” on the way. For too long we have excluded! Now is a time to repent and become inclusive. Also, remember how you have been included, and remember too your efforts of crossing those imaginary borders that are culturally around us.

May you travel light and expand your view!


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