Some of you have probably heard that the “new and right spirit” that I am seeking this Lent is the spirit of kindness, particularly in those situations and with those persons when I find it most challenging. Kindness seems to be where everything good in relationships has its start.
Which makes sense, because one of the core characteristics of God that we find in the Hebrew Scriptures is loving-kindness, an attempt to translate the Hebrew word (chesed) which we also see translated as mercy. I think of this beautiful word as God’s covenant love: lavish, fierce, sacrificial, unfailing, tender, insistent on seeking us out and drawing us in. Here is a reflection on this attribute of God from a Jewish perspective:
Chesed appears in the Torah to communicate God’s kindness and love toward humanity, as well as human kindness and love toward each other
Chesed emerges as one of the essential ways humans engage with God to sustain creation.
Chesed is when you give your heart and mind to the well-being of the one in need.
Chesed occurs when there is understanding between two people and when the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” is fulfilled. (from: myjewishlearning.com)
Maybe we can think of loving-kindness as the Divine image ( a “right Spirit”) which God planted in us and intended to pour forth from our hearts: to God, others and all creation. That can only happen when we have cleared out enough of everything that clogs us up. That’s where Lent comes in! Time for a deep cleanse, a spring cleaning that can make space for God’s loving-kindness to dwell and grow.
Making space for grace, Pastor Annette