I am among those called to lead people in confessing sin and announcing God's forgiveness in the Sunday liturgy, an essential action never altogether free from the threat of routinized going-through-the-motions. This action is anything but routine, however, when it occurs in the setting I described in my lectionary column for the Century on this week's Gospel lesson.
On the way to meet a friend whose marriage, I'd heard, was on the rocks, I sifted through the clichés one can offer someone on the verge of divorce. But when I arrived, her husband was with her to welcome me. As we traveled around her campus together I noticed them holding hands (so rare on U.S. college campuses that you wonder if it violates some regulation).
An elementary school in Baltimore is sending children who misbehave to a Mindful Moment Room. In a room with lamps, decorations, and plush pillows, the students are encouraged to use breathing and meditation practices and to talk through the incident that got them sent to the room. There were no suspensions at the school last year. A nearby high school used the same approach to discipline problems and saw a decline in suspensions and an increase in attendance rates (Upworthy.com, September 22).