Good morning Horned Frogs. While we may be separated by the miles, I hope each of us has found ways this week to stay connected and in relationship with one another. Maybe that’s through Zoom meetings or Google hangouts. Maybe that’s through just sending someone a note or leaving a meal on someone’s front steps. There are countless ways to connect, even now. What matters is that we keep doing it. For as I read this week, it’s human relationship above all else that’s our great natural resource.
So our devotional as we end this week comes from my dear friend and colleague in chaplaincy Britt Luby. Britt is an alumna from TCU who’s worked here in various roles for over 10 years. She has a boundless and compassionate heart as well as a spirit that is relentlessly driven towards justice and serving those in need. As the one who leads our Interfaith initiatives, she encourages us to always see one another as neighbor, even in the most difficult of times. Today she helps us reflect on how we see one another and love another – both in the season of Lent and in this altogether other new season.
As a reminder, you can find previous devotionals on our devotionals web page. As importantly, you can find other spiritual and general care resources, including information about the Frog Family Crisis Fund on our care and support page.
All my best and all my prayers as always – Angela
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. [1 John 4:7]
On Ash Wednesday this year, I had my forehead marked with ashes. This liturgical practice is a physical way to mark the beginning of lent—a reminder that from dust we came and to dust we shall return— but it’s also a physical marker of who is a practicing Christian. On Ash Wednesday, you can fairly easily see who shares your faith practices. Who shares your theology. Who, more or less, thinks like you.
It makes it easy to see who is like you.
You might bump into someone in line for coffee, for example, and see her forehead smeared black like yours. “Me too!” you say, pulling back your bangs. You chuckle together, maybe share with each other what you are giving up for lent. These ashes are a great equalizer: smudges look a little odd on everyone. Once a year, these ashes make strangers feel a little bit like family.
Strangers do not feel like family today. Today, I confess, when I am out getting groceries I fear just about anyone with a cough. I want to keep my older relatives safe and isolated. I bump elbows instead of shaking hands. I avoid touching doors. Does she have a fever? Has he travelled far? Am I safe with this person? Should I be afraid?
In addition to being afraid, I am angry. Angry at people for hoarding goods, angry at crowds for still gathering despite guidelines, angry at my small children for demanding so much attention.
It is easier for me to love you because we are alike.
This is the refrain looping through my head as I reflect back on Ash Wednesday just a few weeks ago. And this must be my refrain, it must be our refrain, every day. Especially now, dear ones.
We must pretend that everyone we meet has ashes on their forehead.
We must assume that everyone is part of our community. Because they are. And if you didn’t already believe that in your bones, this virus shows us how connected we are each and every second.
I wash my hands because I love you. I keep distance because I love you. I buy only what I need because I love you.
I love you because we are the same.
God of love, help us see that everyone we meet is loved by you. Give us the strength to love one another as you love us.
Peace and good, dear ones-