Walter Brueggemann is a favorite theologian and I’ve been working my way through his book of daily lenten devotions, A Way Other Than Our Own. “The summons of Lent,” says Brueggemann, is to “bear new fruit by doing what is in sync with God.” What does it mean to be in sync with that integrating process at work in the universe that I know as God?
Immersed in the transcendent power of this Lenten season, I feel deeply connected to some kind of cosmic umbilicus. It is a powerful sense of belonging to something larger than myself, of serving something larger than ego. During these forty days, I feel bound to a great many other people, spread all across the earth and all engaged in reflection on the meaning and purpose of being human now, in this time. These are soul questions, and I welcome them now more closely than ever because our time in history feels epochal. For me, being in sync with God looks and feels like cultivating increased interdependence and cooperation in the world.
Today’s “summons of lent” is asking me to reflect on and make a choice between two possible futures.
One future looks like the status quo where individuals and like-minded defenders continue participating in the culture wars. By choosing to contribute to a polarizing “us vs. them” mindset and attendant behavior, all too often I end up adding to dangerously high levels of interpersonal and communal violence in the world around me.
A second future requires that I accept the radical practices and values of my living faith tradition by accepting interdependence. Instead of resisting interdependence and contributing to the culture wars, I embrace it and take on a new identity as midwife of beloved community. Together with others who want to join in, we will bear new fruit by becoming increasingly agile at navigating a wide variety of cultural differences in the communities in which we live. By accepting interdependence and choosing to make the shift from fear to faith, from “I” to “We,” we do what is in sync with the Spirit of life and Love in a world of hurts that need healing.
We are called to respond to the “summons of Lent” by accepting interdependence instead of continuing to resist it. In this time in history, I choose to take Brueggemann’s suggested “great departure from the greedy, anxious, anti-neighborliness” of our dominant culture.