This morning I chanced to hear a fragment of radio advertising from a room at the far end of the house. The phrase caught my attention “Black Fridays in March.” I guess that’s a thing, extending the curse and chaos of post-Thanksgiving sales to the rest of the year. But seriously? Friday sales during Lent?
I haven’t yet decided how I’ll mark Fridays in Lent. I didn’t grow up in a fish-on-Friday culture, but I do appreciate the ritual reminder that all Fridays echo the one Friday when a cross was raised and darkness fell. Fasting (or some other limit on consumption) seems an apt way of remembering the grief of the black Friday I’m paying attention to right now. So when this Friday found me in the heart of commercial darkness, waiting at the Toyota dealer while my car was being fixed, my instinct was to isolate myself from the sound of high-pressure sales pitches in favor of a more contemplative Lenten piety. But if I had succeeded, I would have missed the parishioner who appeared, greeted me warmly, and shared her faith story. Or the colleague came by and helped me to plan a Sunday class. Or when I finally picked up my car, finding the radio was tuned to an unfamiliar pop Christian station. I smiled at the thought of the car mechanic listening to “Bought by Blood.”
In the midst of the marketplace, God’s beloved ones show up. Which resembles nothing more than God showing up in the midst of human busy-ness and business. I’m #LentINGo of expectations of where I’ll be met by God; maybe my Lenten Friday discipline will be to eat the humble bread of surprise. With some fish?