This week during our Sabbath walk through Lent we’re lifting up the idea of “celebrate.” Initially it seems sort of odd to put the words celebrate and Lent together. But our celebrate concern isn’t about loud music and loads of people. It’s about the fact that If we’re going to ever really celebrate anything we’re gonna have to slow down long enough to notice it. I think something John Green’s character Hazel Grace said is helpful:
Isaac started talking about true love. I couldn’t tell them what I was thinking because it seemed cheesy to me, but I was thinking about the universe wanting to be noticed, and how I had to notice it as best I could. I felt that I owed a debt to the universe that only my attention could repay, and also that I owed a debt to everybody who didn’t get to be a person anymore and everyone who hadn’t gotten to be a person yet.
Hazel Grace isn’t some naiveté teenage girl, her proximity to death makes her unfairly wise. If I was her, I’d be completely screwed up by self-pity. But somehow she still finds a reason to notice the universe, even if it is to repay a debt. Maybe a more precise word could be “reflect” or “mindfulness “or some other verby way to say “present.” It might even be more appropriate in Lent to use these alternative words. But, we’re stuck with “celebrate.” I’m glad.
For those of us that are in close proximity to death and suffering, reflecting is the last thing we want to do. If we stop and notice the universe we’re afraid that the tender spot that makes us tear up will be pushed on too hard. I find myself in that place all too often these days. So for me, celebrate seems better - cause’ it’s good news.
~ JD Mechelke