In preparing for Lent this year, I’m asking myself what I’m allowing to distract me.
In the story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus in John 11, Martha sends for Jesus with a heartbreaking message: “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” I’m sure at that moment, Martha was undistracted. Her brother was sick, and she wanted Jesus to come and save him.
What Jesus – and my therapist – don’t promise is that noticing will be free of pain. Sometimes when I rid myself of distractions, I’m forced to encounter circumstances or truths that I don’t want to deal with.
In our world today, even a brief look around can be heartbreaking. The news seems to constantly bring tidings of sorrow, death, and violence. But what is the alternative? I don’t want to fail to notice the pain around me. I want to be present to those who are sick and needy. I want to be present to my own suffering, the ways that I need to be raised from the dead. I don’t want to stop sending messages to Jesus, asking him to come.
This message is excerpted from “Just notice: Walking into Lent with Martha” by Cara Strickland in the March 2017 Gather magazine.
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