Something to think about
Much as this may ruin whatever kudos I have left, my daughter and I went to the Spice Girls concert before lockdown last year! We had paid a lot of money for our tickets and we had great seats.
In front of us, and presumably having also paid a lot of money for her ticket, was a young woman in her twenties who missed the entire concert. She spent the whole time turning her back on the stage, fluffing up her hair, and taking photos that she then posted on social media. She simply wasn’t present – she missed it all.
In these days of image addiction, it can actually be very difficult to do what God does in this passage: ‘they look on outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’ We all see the outward appearance on social media, but that rarely tells us anything about the heart. Who is this person really? If you stripped away the preening, what ignites their heart? Poverty, injustice, climate change?
Before we get too judgmental about the woman at the concert, or our friends on Facebook and Instagram, we can all succumb to displaying our outward appearance only. It is safer than people seeing who we really are.
Would it be an interesting Lenten promise, to be who we are for once? Could we be present to the people we meet and leave down our phones? Could we refuse to post euphoria unless it is what we are actually feeling?
So how about this idea for Lent? How about, like David, we just be ourselves, and allow God and others we meet to see our heart – to see what we really care about? It might even be a lot more interesting!
Something to pray
Lord, my God,
You know my heart. You are so much less interested in my outward appearance than I am. Forgive me for my shallowness and pretence, and dig deeper into my heart through this Lent. You know the issues of the world about which I deeply care. May I demonstrate this and follow You, follow my heart, and bring to this world who I really am.
Today's contribution has been slightly adapted from an original contribution by the Most Rev Pat Storey. Pat is Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath and Kildare. She came to faith whilst reading the Scriptures and still loves and is immensely challenged by the word of God. She has immense hope for the future of the church and believes God is in control. Pat is married to Earl and has two grown-up children, Carolyn and Luke, and a grandson, Isaac. In her spare time, she writes fiction, swims and enjoys food!
You can read Pat's contribution to Rage and Hope: 75 prayers for a better world, available to order here.