FYI - I don't do "giving up for Lent." My God is not a God of "Don't."
Years ago - 1998 or so - I worked about four steps down the food chain from a man named Tom Vitaglione. He was the director of Women's and Children's Health for the State of North Carolina, and he was loved. Tom personified "servant leadership" before the phrase was coined, let alone became the buzzword it seems to be these days.
The first week of Lent that first year in WCH, I ducked into the breakroom to heat up my lunch, and Tom was sitting at a table alone, eating a PBJ and reading a book. I asked him what it was, and he told me - Henri Nouwen's Life of the Beloved. He said he read it every year during Lent, because it reminded him of his purpose.
Since that time, I've sought out opportunities during Lent to do. Do read something challenging or joyful. Do start seedlings. Do encourage a friend who's never had a garden - and help get one started. Do sing at the top of my lungs while driving down the expressway.
Fast forward to February 28, 2010: The gist of the sermon this morning was seeing the face of God in everyday things. The challenge was to be aware of that face as we go through the week.
It's easy to see God in people like Tom, who are conscious of the fact that there's a reason they're here and who work at fulfilling that purpose. It's not so easy to see God in the faces of harried co-workers, tense executives, or people who are so angry because someone in the world doesn't subscribe to their definition of "right." It's not easy to see God in the idiot who cuts me off as I'm trying to merge onto the highway.
But maybe that's because I'm not aware of the presence of God in my own being at those moments. It's so easy to snap back at someone who's frustrated and short-tempered, to shrug off the high muckety-mucks as being "oblivious," to let my blood pressure go up as I drive. I don't see the face of God because I'm not reflecting the face of God.
This week, here's the #1 "to-do" on my list: I want to be conscious. I want to be aware of the gifts I've been given - the gift of humor, the gift of words, the gift of music - and I want to reflect those gifts out into the world as I walk (or drive) through it. With the help of the Almighty, and in honor of Tom V (who still has - and will always have - my respect and admiration), I will try to see God throughout each day, and reflect the face of God back out to others I encounter.
We'll see how that goes...