Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Lenten Lenses

It's incredibly humbling to hear from people who are reading my reflections this Lent, whether it is someone I see every day or from people I have never met.  It's a privileged glimpse.

So...I'm not reading my own daily reflections this Lent (I would be distracted by all the commas whose loss I am still mourning), but went in search of something a bit different.  I'm reading Walter Brueggemann's A Way Other Than Our Own, which is a daily devotional for the Lenten season, and Born from the Gaze of God by Christophe Lebreton, the lightly edited journal of one of the martyred monks of Tibhirine.  The latter was a last minute pick, it's not a Lenten book per se.

Brueggeman's book begins with a challenge - to rethink who we are in the light of the Gospel, asking hard questions:  have we turned away from faith and our baptismal call to sink into a vague identity that is equal parts affluence, patriotism, consumerism and violence? Why are we working for what does not satisfy?  What, he asks us to consider, is tugging at the edge of our awareness?

I had no idea what I was getting into with Born from the Gaze of God, only to open it to find a mix of the poetic and the pragmatic.  He riffs on writing as an opening to God, as an opening for God, as God writing in him.  There are quotes from the Koran interspersed with comments on coffee so bitter, you want to turn the page on it.  Sometimes I read four lines and need to stop, other times I'm pulled into the daily life of the monastery, day folding onto day.  Br. Christophe's journal ends just a week before the monks were kidnapped. This, too, is a privileged glimpse.

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