pink and purple and sin

Lent is  often a time in which we look at ourselves with a critical eye, much like The Dowager Countess Violet of Grantham looks at the wrong fork next to the wrong plate.  We sit down determined to find fault in ourselves; and so we do.  Funny that.

But I wonder if Lent may also be a time to find ourselves rather than just find fault in ourselves.  Might we see our goodness, our kinds, our truthfulness – those pink blossoms?  Might we notice the sins of others – not in a judgmental way – not in a “I am better than him” sort of way; but in a “Wow!  I have survived that abuse and am still alive!” sort of way.  Might we see the sins of those around us and wonder why they were so badly raised, why they were so insecure, why they were so “missing the mark” (which is the definition of sin.)

These flowers are of a sort – all purple, and then there is that splash of pink color.  There is “alike” in this image and then there is “other” in this image.  That one flower different from the others. That one pink splash in a sea of purple.  And so I wonder: is it valuable in Lent not only for me to see and notice my own sins, but also those of others – not so that I judge them, or think myself better than them – but simply so that I am reminded that I am not alone as a sinner.  And that I, we, are all sinners in the hands of a loving God, not an angry one.

When you feel pink in a sea of purple, perhaps pink is not so bad.  And perhaps Lent is not so much a time to be hard on ourselves, nor a time to be hard on others, but rather, a time to be aware that “there, but for the grace of God, go I.” Because when I get really outraged at the sins of others, it is usually because that is the very sin which annoys me about me.

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