Lenten Reflection – by Mark Liebenow

Compassion

Most of life is lived after the parade. I imagine the prophet Micah walking behind a crowd that is celebrating a religious holiday, and noticing people sitting on the side after the parade has passed by. Wondering why, he goes over to find out. Some are grieving. Some have no food. Some no permanent place to live. They are hoping that by coming here, they will feel a moment of hope that will lighten the burdens they carry. I see him sitting down and listening to them share their struggles and tears.

He does not preach to them. He does not scold them because they aren’t thankful for the goodness of life. He does not tell them that they would be happy if their faith in God was strong enough. He says none of this. He knows that life right now feels like a tragedy. He knows that words of joy have no meaning. One day he will remind them of God’s glory. One day he will encourage them to give thanks to God for what they still have. He knows that what they need now is the presence of others.

He sits with them in their sorrow, and simply says that God loves them, and he loves them, and he will sit with them until they are feeling better. His presence helps them feel not so alone. This is what being a community of faith means. This is the heart of the Gospels. (Micah 6:8)

— Mark Liebenow