Our daughter had an essay due on a book assigned at school. At 9 p.m., she sat in front of her computer starting at the blank screen. I assumed she had procrastinated.
“You have known this would be due tomorrow. It’s 9 p.m.” And with what I thought was a great offer of patient generosity, I said, “You talk and I’ll type.”
“Mom,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “You don’t understand. I can’t write about it. It is too sad.”
The book she was assigned described American slavery. I was deeply convicted in that moment. When I was her age, I had not read books like this one, nor had I wept over slavery or Jim Crow or martyrs of the Civil Rights movement. Late that night, when the paper was written, I did weep, led by a 12-year-old to a more tender heart.
I grew up in the parallel universe of black and white. I went to better equipped, staffed and resourced public schools. I graduated from high school the year before total integration of our county schools, 15 years after Brown vs. Board of Education mandated that separate was not equal.
I once heard an historian compare the nature of racism to water that surrounds a fish. The fish swims in it, knowing no other world. And so it was: I was drenched and soaked like a fish swimming in a sea of separate that was not equal.
A continued task of my adulthood has been the earnest desire to be a part of God’s new creation, swimming in baptismal water through the church that Christ has “opened to people of all ages, nations and races.” Faithful followers of Jesus Christ, turning away from every evil, build beloved community where all are welcomed and honored and included.
Lent is the season to tell our stories. Let us speak of our experience in this world – what we have done and what we have left undone, what we have thought and what we have ignored, what we have invested and what we have withheld.
As we do so, we remember that even during Lent, we are Easter people. The 40 days of Lent are accented with Sundays, resurrection days of light and love.
You will receive a meditation each day of Lent, as a gift. Talk about the stories in your church gatherings, classes, groups, and share your own stories with each other.
May grace abound as we share our lives with one another day by day, all the way to the joy of Easter.