As a nation, somewhere along the way, we have lost the art of mending. Once, whole professions were dedicated to the task of restoring broken objects to make them useful and valuable once again.
Mending is a slow process, one that requires much patience. A person who mends must be able to understand where something is broken and see what is loose or missing. It takes precious time to study the problem and come up with possible solutions.
Today, time has become too slippery a commodity for the mending process. It is easier to dispose of broken objects and replace them with new ones. The people who once devoted their lives to mending have all but disappeared.
Rarely do we find a craftsman who can repair a clock, mend a broken shoe or fix a radio or small appliance. More and more often, we hear that something is not worth repairing. The world philosophy is that it will be cheaper to throw something away and get a new one.
Some of us still believe that many things truly are worth the effort required for mending. Friendships, family ties, marriages and our relationship with God all take time, and patience. We have to be willing to take a good look at our lives, not only with our head but with our hearts.
We need time to remember the past, forgive old wounds and seek forgiveness for any pain we have caused. Meanwhile, the world encourages us to get over it, move on and find a new object of focus.
Mending, says the world, takes too long, and besides, there are no guarantees. Imagine where we would be if God went along with that line of thinking. Would any of us still be here?
Lent is a season made for mending. The scriptures call to mind God's faithfulness to his covenant with his people. The readings are full of images of suffering and betrayal alongside mercy and forgiveness.
The question is: can we distance ourselves from distractions long enough to see the empty spaces and missing pieces? Are we willing to give up some of our precious time to mend what is broken?
Perhaps this Lent you will come up with a list of things left undone for far too long. Making the list is easy. The difficult part is setting aside time required to do the hard work of fixing our broken places. We know that, in the end, whatever time we give to mending our brokenness will be worth it.
During these 40 days, in the words of the prophet Joel, God is calling us to "Come back to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning." This Lent, with humility we offer our broken lives and our broken world to God, knowing that while there is much we can do, mending is his specialty.