During lent we’re supposed to turn to God, to pray, fast and give alms. Every church I know has something extra going on for Lent.
But there’s a line from Isaiah in last Friday’s first reading that keep’s coming to me. It comes after he pointedly says that all the above can just be a gesture if they don’t lead to acts of justice, “releasing those bound unjustly…sharing your bread with the hungry…clothing the naked when you see them…not turning your back on your own…”
“Not turning your back on your own.” That’s the phrase I hear. Who are our own and how do we turn our backs on them? It’s the curse of familiarity that we so often misunderstand or peg into a category those we know. Often enough, we judge them by what they’re done or not done, and end up not knowing them at all. Our memories, unfortunately, are long and narrow. Our appreciation is often driven by self-interest.
Lent is a good time to turn to our own. Putting away our categories, our experiences, our memories and expectations, it’s time to look again at the promise in people we know.
I have some looking to do.