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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Observing Lent in the Trump Era

I may have given up something for Lent many, many years ago.  I have a vague memory of doing so.  Our pastor at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, Dr. Ed Pickard, encouraged us, instead, to take on something for Lent.  I have thought about that and tried to do so in one small way or another.  I have joked that I take on Cadbury Creme Eggs for Lent, but this year I see that they cost 99 cents each at CVS so I will abstain until they go on sale!

However, this year, I am trying to give up something--or at least discipline myself in my far too easy checking of Facebook.  I have taken it off my iphone so at least I have to be home and on my laptop to check postings. The frequent political postings in this Trump era are so depressing that I despair.   However, there are other postings I don't want to miss like the updates on our friend Morgan Bolt and his cancer treatments--and  the wonderful article Rice Computer Science wrote about our dear Dan.  So my compromise is trying to look at Facebook just two or three times a day.  This does make me aware of my unthinking habit and my need for discipline in this regard.

On a more positive note, as I read the lectionary each morning, I look for one phrase to stand out as God's word for me.  In a way this is a form of lectio divina, although I don't meditate on the phrase for very long!  I write it down in my little pink notebook and the act of writing it reinforces it.   Today's phrase was from Psalm 103: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all my being, bless his holy name.  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."

Two weeks ago, when President Trump tweeted his accusation of President Obama's wiretappping of his phones, he called his predecessor "bad (or sick) guy."  The lectionary that morning was from Isaiah 58:

Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday...

I have been thinking ever since what a difference it might make if President Trump  read the lectionary every morning.  Is Scripture really a two-edged sword?  Does it really go out and not return void?  How can I suggest this to him from my humble place in Granger, Indiana?  Would this be a more powerful idea than any of the many petitions I have signed?  I will ponder this and pray.

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