Each Lenten season, I design a proactive Lenten journey, one of doing things rather than giving things up. As I rise and peer out the window at each new day dawning over Rock Creek, I greet the Lord much like a character I once saw in the Irish film Agnes Brown. Marion walks into church daily on her way to work in the market and exclaims “Hello Lord it’s me, Marion. Just wanted to make sure you know I am here,” and then goes on her way to work.
I too want to make sure I acknowledge God daily as I prepare myself for the annual renewal of the Easter promise. During my commute I give the time to prayer and quiet observation, offering a smile or pleasantries to my traveling companions. Ask yourself, how many people greet you as they pass you or take a seat next to you? This is my practice of radical hospitality offered in an often cold world; preparing the way of the Lord.
This season, in particular, I have chosen a practice of intentional empathy. After struggling to try to understand how so many people’s world views could be so vastly different than my own, I am choosing to search for opportunities to listen and practice empathy with those with whom I disagree. We must try to extend ourselves towards those whose experiences are deeply different than our own if we are to heal a broken world. Jesus drew all those in search of meaning and understanding closer to himself. I believe many are in need of a connection, healing and a moment of feeling heard. So this season is my season of doing something to answer that need by practicing intentional empathy. I invite you to join in my practices of radical hospitality and intentional empathy or to design your own proactive Lenten journey.
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