Lenten Discipline — March 20

Lenten discipline of the day:

pay a compliment to someone who hardly ever gets one.
30He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” (Mark 4:30-32)

I cannot claim the idea as original, but from February 1 until Valentines Day this year, I posted a heart on my son’s bedroom door every morning reminding him not only that I love him, but also all the ways in which he is a talented and wonderful human being.  Because of his autism spectrum disorder, my son doesn’t always have an easy time in school and with other kids.  The hearts are still hanging on his door to remind him, even when the world doesn’t, that he has lots of gifts and talents, and that he is loved.

Today’s lenten discipline is to pay a compliment — a sincere and genuine compliment — to someone who hardly ever receives one.  That person could be a struggling co-worker, the guy who bags groceries at the store, the person who mops the floors in your office, or maybe even someone you love and live with.  The world is full of “unnoticed” people who do not believe they are worthy or beautiful.  As people of God, we are called to affirm and lift up the inherent value and worth of all people.

When reading the gospel lesson in today’s lectionary, I was struck by the mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds on earth according to Jesus.  Yet isn’t it amazing how God seems to have this crazy love for small things?  And God has so much confidence that small things can blossom in extraordinary ways. Paying someone a compliment seems like a very small thing, indeed.  But we cannot know how one small word of kindness that recognizes the humanness of another person can make a enormous difference.  

Every time you love just a little
Take one step closer, solving a riddle
It echoes all over the world

Every time you opt in to kindness
Make one connection, used to divide us
It echoes all over the world

Every time you choose one more morning
Goodness or meanness, life has one warning
It echoes all over the world

When a leader gets the hungry fed food
When you just make love inside your bedroom
It echoes all over the world

— Dar Williams, “Echoes”