The final week in Jesus' life included especially great depths and heights: He faced a dark night of the soul in Gethsemane, a torturous cross and, ultimately, a glorious resurrection. Identifying with Jesus in His journey keeps us focused and faithful in ours.
Like the cloak of Jesus, we do not think the object as divine. Rather, we call them "windows" to heaven, because we encounter Jesus through material objects.
Whether Jesus was buried and resurrected, or taken up by God, faith in him is shared by more than half of the world inclusive of Muslims and Christians. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, his message of love thy enemy, love thy neighbor and forgive the other will set us free.
Maybe what we need to give up for Lent isn't a forbidden food, but the Fat Talk instead. Eating is indeed a sacred practice. As is the speech we use to feed our minds.
I might not believe in the divinity of Christ or the Crucifixion of the four canonical gospels. But I do believe in charity, in prayer, and, of course, in fasting.
While I may not agree with the entire spiritual underpinning of "Lent," I liked the idea of participating in it as a personal-growth exercise, in line with my previous efforts to read Cats in the original feline, or to get taller.
So we can get to new life. I hope our apathy dies. I hope our sense of powerlessness dies. I hope our notion that religion is only about personal piety and not about political action dies.
Lent and Holy Week are not just a time to take stock of our individual lives and turn towards God. This is also a time to take stock of our life together to prune out what is not healthy or helpful, to root out what is sinful.
Because I've seen so much tragic addiction at close range, including in my own family, I felt literally pulled into writing a prayer about its pain and also possibilities of healing.
While Catholic and Islamic services are different, many of our practices are the same, and I felt overwhelmed by a feeling of our shared human endeavours to get closer to the divine.
Cultivate simplicity. Learn to communicate in non-verbal ways. When you use words, have them say what you mean. If there is a key to your mystery, let people have it so they can understand you.
During this Lenten season as I reflect on all of the pious and self-righteous fingers of accusation that were pointing at Jesus, I realize how frequently I point my finger at the faults of other people even though Jesus points not at them or at me but to the dust of our common humanity.
Lent perplexes me. The events it recalls are chaotic. In the midst of this, I will watch for the transformations that do happen, that are miracles, too often unnoticed in the middle of a crowd.
Empathy has a central role to play in helping us to be in concert with God's concerns: regardless of our public, political stance on a particular justice issue, our personal attitude toward the people involved must be characterized by godly love and grace.
Moderate to progressive Christians aren't the ones in the news talking negatively about women, and gays, and evolution. But we're also not the ones in the news talking about women, and gays, and evolution in positive ways, either.
In Lent, we should strive to hear them, be kind and open. Try to understand that beneath their sometime outer hardness and obstinacy is an acute sensitivity and tenderness, a genuine openness to God's spirit.