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by Bob Hunter

Have you chosen your Lenten practice yet? The usual thought that comes to mind for many of us when someone says “Lent” is giving up something. You know the list: chocolate, cigarettes, over eating, cursing, speeding, movies, etc., etc., etc. “The Lenten list” can be as numerous as there are people. And I’m not making light of the value of this kind of list. Especially if cigarettes are on the list. OK, I’ll quit meddling.

Let’s go to the opposite side of the spectrum. How about a Lenten list that has things to give away? What would such a list include? How about these: time to visit a lonely person, or extra offerings for refugees, or good used clothes or shoes, or babying sitting for a single parent in order to give them some free time, or, or, or.

You get the gist.

May I now suggest that one Lenten practice that includes both lists of giving up and giving away? That’s correct; it will in accomplish the need of both lists. Let’s go to the second list first. I’m going to suggest that as a gift of giving this Lenten season you could choose to give away your ears. Yes, that’s right, your ears. Both of them.

Of course, I’m talking about listening. Listening is a special and wonderful gift. I personally can’t think of anyone in my acquaintance during a normal day’s activities that would not love more of this gift. How about the people in your everyday life? If we want to, I imagine every one of us could find time in our busy day to purposely listen to one person. Just one person. It sounds too easy doesn’t it? Just listen to someone who doesn’t expect you to listen. That could be a spouse, a child, a stranger, a clerk, a work associate, a neighbor. You might ask God to assist you in choosing whom you might gift with your listening.

So if I choose to give away my time to intentionally and purposely listen to one particular person each day, what is on my Lenten list of things to give up?
Me talking.

During the Forty Days of Lent, we will offer daily meditations from All Saints Church. Today’s is written by Bob Hunter, Part-time Congregational Development and Volunteer Ministry Coordinator.