Lenten Reflection – by Cynthia Nelson

Listening to NPR, I was reminded of Lent. Scott Simon was interviewing author David Mamet about his new book.  And, both being from Chicago, they were reminiscing. David Mamet’s book is about the mob and about two peripheral characters, peripheral to the crime, who get swept up and damaged in a mess that is not of their making. Life is like that. And during Lent, we are reminded to pay attention to sin, both to our personal mistakes and maliciousness and to the larger ways in which humans interact that inevitably hurt people.

Scott Simon has a comforting and reassuring voice. And NPR tends to be the media voice in the US that comes closest to mirroring a progressive perspective on the world. So it was a little disconcerting to listen to David Mamet say with his best Chicago cynicism that as far as he can tell in life “nothing is on the level” and Scott Simon say “You’re almost certainly right.” Sin is that prevalent. What they were not seeing, what Christ shows us, is the possibility for good in the face of corrupt society.

During Lent we are encouraged to look at sin, both in ourselves and in society, with an eye to understand it so that we can struggle against it. As Jesus got closer to his fateful journey to Jerusalem, more and more he was faced with questioners who were not on the level. He would speak and people would ask questions, not to gain knowledge but because they were looking to trick him and get him into trouble. At the end, that trouble, and a rigged trial, led him to the cross. Let us keep our eyes wide open and try to be aware without being cynical as we follow Christ.

— Cynthia Nelson