- we will NOT listen to the "sober sound of expectations reduced," but instead will listen to the spirit-filled sound of raised expectations;
- we will not accept "desires blunted" as a fact of life - not in our individual lives and certainly not in our church life - but will sharpen desires and lift them even higher;
- any "hopes deferred or abandoned" - not just those of our faith community and our wider community, but of our nation will be addressed, and any within our power to affect, we'll revive and restore those hopes; and
- any "chances lost, defeats accepted, and griefs borne" will be put to rest in the sure and certain hope of resurrection - not "resurrection" as a general principle, but in sure and certain hope of the resurrection of Christ, who restores all chances, conquers all defeats, and redeems all grief.
But I'm re-thinking that this year.
What I'm fasting from this Lent is discouragement. That means cutting back on what is so often the source of discouragement, which is a tendency to gorge on, or dwell on, bad news.
(Let me be clear: that does not mean giving up news or otherwise burying my head in the sand: it means staying informed while finding ways not to get pulled into a downward spiral of feelings of numbness and helplessness; it means giving up unproductive feelings like hopelessness and resignation and taking on visible behaviors like giving encouragement and taking action.)
It means making visible -- here, on my blog, and even on Facebook -- the good.
Because the problem is -- to paraphrase the community organizer Rich Harwood -- a lot of times we see "good news stories…