I must confess that I have never been that concern with following Lent as preparation for Easter. Still, this year is different, so I got a couple of books on Lent, and one of them, written by Walter Brueggemann, Way Other Than Our Own, has encouraged me.
Taking a familiar passage from Matthew 6, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27 ESV), Brueggemann says that “Jesus affirmed that it is possible to be in the world in a new way, to be present to the people and problems around us with some newness and freshness”. He points out that we live in a world full of anxiety, where we are being pressed and worried. How relevant this is for us today.
In an effort to curve down the spread of the virus, the lockdown has been extended to the 1st of April. However, what is not stopping is that many of us are struggling to cope mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically living with the restrictions.
How are we going to cope? Can we get to some normality? There are many questions and few answers, and there are many “Ifs”: If this happens? If I lose my job? If I get sick? The “Ifs” are endless.
For Brueggemann to say that it is possible to live in a world in a new way and to be present to the people and problems around us with some newness and freshness is inviting us to reconsider the question Jesus is asking us. What would our answer be? We gain nothing by being anxious, and I am not saying that we need to ignore our anxiety pretending it is not there. But to refocus our vision on the one who can give life amid our chaos. I believe that when we do that, we become more and better human beings. Is this what Jesus taught us to pray when he said, Your Kingdom come you will be done on earth as it is in heaven?