Lent is about giving up, but this year, I think I’ll take something on.
I had already promised, half-heartedly, that I would give up sweet drinks (failed), chocolate (failed), maybe even cigarettes (not even tried).
Yesterday the thought came to me (Holy Spirit whisper?) to give up saying negative things. That’s a good one. I’m working on it.
But today, the thought (Holy Spirit, is that you again? I’m already working on the negativity. What more do you want?) came to take on something. I’m not sure what. But the companion thought was to move away from individual action towards the action of the gathered.
Maybe it’s prayer. But I don’t think so: we all already pray.
Maybe it’s a project. But that’s not it either – there are already plenty of projects.
So what is this taking on about?
What might we take on together this Lenten season?
What requires our concerted action?
What needs putting on rather than taking off?
What new thing might we introduce into our lives together that this thing called us might actually resemble God and God’s kingdom right here, right now?
Maybe it’s love. Not the Hallmark card stuff (although that’s nice). And not tough love either (sometimes necessary, but not so nice).
Maybe it’s the love of noticing. Maybe what we can do together is notice each other better. Maybe we can hear what’s being said behind the words. Maybe we can respond to the unspoken – with caring action. Maybe we can do the laundry for someone simply because we can and they can’t. Maybe we can practice noticing, simply because when you notice things, it prompts an action and that, I think, is love at its most fundamental.
God notices us. God takes notice of us. And that is God’s love.
So maybe this Lent, we can band together and notice each other.