Lent is often marked by solemn spiritual practices such as “giving up” something to help mark the 6 weeks before Christ’s resurrection. This year, at Isaiah’s Table, we are encouraging our community to instead notice the everyday signs of hope and joy that might often be missed. To be astounded and amazed this Lent by giving up cynicism, snark and/or apathy, in order to make way for hope.
This challenge for our Lenten journey was inspired by a sermon given by author and church historian Diana Butler Bass from January 28th. In it she encouraged her listeners to be open to surprises that can rearrange your entire world. She described the crowd’s amazement and astonishment when witnessing Jesus’ healing of a demon-possessed man. She noted that when we are able to let down our walls and see Jesus’ presence in our daily lives, hope survives- the knowledge that the world CAN be different is kindled.
So, in these dark times of wars and political strife, let’s look for those places of joy that no doubt exists each and every day. Times we notice the miracles our creator provides. Perhaps it’s something in nature or some random kindness of a stranger. All of these are reasons to be astonished and amazed.
What made you smile today? What brought you joy? These, even very small things, booster the hope we need to dream of world where justice prevails, the poor are lifted up, and peace abounds throughout creation. And in dreaming comes the desire to do the actual work to make the world a bit more like the Kin-dom of heaven that Jesus taught about and demonstrated.