For the past couple of years, we’ve gotten to see a side of people we don’t usually see. Because of COVID restrictions and the ubiquity of Zoom meetings and webinars, we’ve often caught a glimpse inside people’s homes, or at least a glimpse they’re willing to share with us. I often find myself wandering from the topic at hand to see what sort of books are on the shelf behind the speaker. Books with the cover facing the camera are obviously more important than those whose spines I can barely read. I wonder about the trinkets on display and what they might mean to the person I should be listening to.
The shoe is on the other foot when we become active participants in such meetings. What have we chosen as a backdrop for our participation? Maybe it’s a photo of a beach where we’d like to be in the middle of winter. Usually, however, it’s just our usual favorite spot at home, a home office nook or perhaps the dining room table. So that vase in the background needs a fresh set of flowers, and the pictures on the wall are to be straightened. That unsightly pile of papers is to be moved out of camera range. Have we angled our computer so the light is right? We arrange our setting to provide the best impression.
Is this how we approach Lent as well? Lent is a period of introspection, a period of taking a fresh look at ourselves: How we have lived this past year and what changes we might make. Is it a genuine search of our lives and how we live, or are we merely tidying up the trappings in the background so we think we’ll look good and salve our conscience?
Links to the appointed readings and prayer for today: