A Pastoral Message at the Start of Lent 2021
One of my spiritual practices is to do a slow read of the Bible each day. In January I started reading[...]
Because Valentine’s Day arrives in mid-February and is such a consumer-oriented celebration of cards, candy, flowers, and gifts, we think about this as a month all about love. Besides that, there are plenty of other specially noted months which all seem to be food related. February is Canned Food Month, National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month and Great American Pie Month. (Pi Day doesn’t come until 3/14.)
In today’s world, saying that you “absolutely love ____________” seems to roll easily off our lips. And judging from the celebration list above, that love is often related to food. How do you suppose that sounds and feels to someone who is not able to put enough food on the table to feed their family? How do you think it would feel to a child who goes to school hungry only to talk about cherry pie month in relation to the myth about President Washington? Or trying to learn about pi in March when your mouth is hungering for the real thing?
Might we rather this February focus on celebrating National Heart Month and all the ways in which our hearts might be made healthy. Of course, there is our physical health; I suspect that many of the other hyped months/weeks might not contribute much to that. But what if we focused on how to be heart healthy by sharing love, as St. Valentine did, in ways other than material gifts?
Reading the book by Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church would be a good start. The title, Love is The Way, is further described in the subtitle as: holding on to hope in troubling times. Talking about that book with someone else would be even better; we all need hope in these challenging days.
Making a monetary donation to a local food shelf, perhaps in honor of Canned Food Month, could replace that box of candy for your spouse. Perhaps you could consider gifting Lutheran Immigration and Refuge Service because you enjoyed so much their online interview/baking lesson with Stacey Mei Yan Fong who is baking 50 state-specific pies to gift people in each of our states.
Be creative in February 2021 and share love this month by celebrating in new ways. You, and others, won’t feel quite as hungry if you do.