Wesley J. Wildman on Now is a Good Time to Exercise Your Compassion Muscles

In the Christian calendar, it’s Lent. I grew up in a Methodist tradition that never mentioned Lent. I don’t know why. Nobody talked about Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Nobody mentioned the party Tuesday right before. Nobody was counting forty days, skipping the Sundays, to get to Easter. Nobody was giving up chocolate or refusing to eat meat on Lenten Fridays. We dwelt in a Lent-free zone.

I learned about Lent in seminary. As an associate pastor in a non-denominational church in Northern California, I watched my mentor Rev. Samuel Johnson Lindamood, Jr. try to teach his flock about Lent. He even tried to inspire them with a collection of readings and meditations, which was hands down the most unusual Lenten meditation book you’ll ever see. Some of his parishioners embraced Lenten practices but not me.

I teach philosophy, theology, and ethics in a seminary, Boston University School of Theology. Each Ash Wednesday I’d see colleagues and students lining up to have crosses marked on their foreheads made from the ashes of the fronds that were waved about on the previous year’s Palm Sunday. But I didn’t participate. I guess childhood habits stick.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Wesley J. Wildman