This is from Lent last year. I’m just a grouch some days.
It’s the start of lent, something that I try to pay attention to, even when it sneaks up on me like it did this year. So this year I have those things I’m taking on, and those things I’m taking a break from, as I prepare for Easter. And during this first week of lent, I’ve about decided that one of the things I’m giving up, is people. Not really. Just kidding. Sort of. I had one of those weeks. Admittedly, I’m not a social person on the best of days. My standard setting is, people: I can take ‘em or leave ‘em. But this week I could definitely leave ‘em. All those snarky t-shirts that kids wear that say things like, “Why are you still talking, I quit listening hours ago?” That’s how I felt all week. I mean, Jesus took 40 days in the desert, right. Maybe that’s what I needed to do. Although this week, that wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice.
And while Jesus did spend his time in the desert, and some time praying alone; and while we do see him frustrated and angry at times with those around him, his mission it seems, much to my chagrin, was about people. He spent much of this ministry with his close group of friends. He invited himself to people’s homes. He ate and drank with outcasts. His first public miracle was at a wedding (shudder).
Even on the cross, when I imagine what that would be like, I think about the men on either side of him arguing and cajoling him, and I want to say, after trying to ignore the both of them, “Look, this has been a really bad day; I feel like crap; in fact, we’re all going to be dead pretty soon anyway; so I would really appreciate it if you two could just shut up!”
That’s me. Not Jesus. He, tortured and dying, engages the two of them. At least one of them entered the kingdom that day.
Lent is a time of contemplation and introspection. And there are times to take a break from things. But even when Jesus took his 40 days in the desert, he came back. And he participated in life with people–annoying, frustrating, “Please don’t interrupt me while I’m ignoring you” t-shirt kind of people. Yeah, I know, people like me.
So when you take the bread and the cup, you might do this. Pray for me. And pray for those who are on your last nerve. And pray that all of us can be there for those that need us, even when we’re tired and worn out and not in the mood. And maybe say thanks that god does the same for us.