Seeking Compassion, Seeking Wholeness
This past year, I began listening more intentionally to the news, mostly the BBC Global News podcast.
Since I don’t own a television, I have largely been spared the graphic photos and videos included in the television news for which I am grateful. Still, while drinking tea each morning, I hear of refugee families, of stubborn and arrogant world leaders, of the effects of global climate change, of the devastation of fires and hurricanes and earthquakes, of sexual harassment and assault. I know many of us have been struggling with the news, with the world these days. The violence and destruction are overwhelming, and they threaten to paralyze us. How do we move forward in such a world?
During the season of Lent, which begins Ash Wednesday, February 14 and continues all the way through March, we will explore the theme Seeking Compassion, Seeking Wholeness. When I listen to the news, I often want to yell back or sink into despair, but neither may be the most helpful response. I wonder what would happen if, instead, we sought compassion and wholeness, instead of a lashing out or divisive rhetoric. All the choices people make are founded in their story, in their values, in their histo-ry, in their best understanding of the world. Naturally, I do not understand or agree with some of the choices my own neighbors make, much less the choices of our world leaders.
However, to demonize people, to fail to listen, to shut myself off from peo-ple with whom I do not agree, that is not helpful. To step into the shoes of another and see the world from their perspective is to seek compassion, and compas-sion helps me understand why people do what we do, helps me see our common humanity despite our dif-ferences. It is compassion that helps us bridge the gap between ourselves and others, and compassion—on our way to wholeness—is what we will explore during Lent.
Each Wednesday during mid-week Lenten worship, an artist from the community will come and share about a particular piece of their own art. Art can open us to new perspectives and help us think more creatively about ourselves, the world, and God. I am delighted that artists are willing to share with us in our mid-week Lenten worship! Some of the artists are Lutheran, some not a part of any religious tradition, but they are all people seeking compassion, seeking wholeness. We will get to share in some of their art throughout the season of Lent as it will be hung or displayed in the sanctuary, and information about their pieces will be available at the back of the sanctuary. At this moment, I can share that art from Darren Johnson who worships with Native American Urban Ministry and Jill Lawrence, spouse of ELCA Pastor Rick Lawrence who serves Bethany Lutheran Church in Scottsdale, will be hung in the sanctuary throughout Lent. I truly hope that this installation encourages us and enriches our Lenten journey!
In addition to grounding our Lenten journey, this art installation will be available for First Friday art walk participants.
Please come and worship this Lent, that together, we may seek compassion and seek wholeness.