It’s about time.

Some of my favorite Lenten phrases are about time.

We start the season with Paul saying “Now is an acceptable time.”

This Sunday, the fifth of Lent, starts with Jeremiah’s portentous phrase, “The days are coming, says the Lord.”

Stuff’s ‘bout to get real, in other words. But “The days are coming, says the Lord” is really strong without paraphrase, too.

What Jeremiah says is coming is a time when the people of God no longer need the rules of engagement written on stone tablets, because they’ll be written on their own hearts. We won’t need to teach our kids how to walk in the light; they’ll just know. And what will they know?

In my non-religious reading, I seem to be sucked into a Brené Brown whirlpool, having just finished Braving the Wilderness and now starting Daring Greatly. On just page 10 of the latter, she describes “Wholehearted living” as “cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

We are broken and brave. We all belong to each other. We are incomplete and imperfect and yet enough.

While Brown is a shame researcher and social worker, rather than a theologian, it seems like, at least in this moment, her Wholehearted living looks a lot like how we would act if God’s way was written on our hearts.

It is in many ways the opposite of what we see around us – a world full of fitting in instead of belonging, of bullshitting to cover brokenness, of painting others as inhuman rather than admitting to our shared imperfections. Of never being _____ enough. Of being driven by our fear of unworthiness to shake our fist at whoever we can depict as even less worthy of belonging.

And the things for which I most need hope, because I can least see the path to wholeness and healing – the divisions of politics and race and class and gender and generation – all seem to start from a lack of wholeheartedness. A lack of ability to vulnerably own our imperfections and mutual belonging and of the courage to move closer anyway.

So, the days are coming, says the Lord, via Jeremiah, when this’ll change.

Can’t wait. It’s about time.

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