There is great potential in Leeds for individuals – assuming access to funds – to seek out a friction-free life. There are home deliveries for practically every need or desire; data and algorithms to supply information and opinions; whole virtual worlds that are more pleasing than the real one. Easing the troubles and challenges of life has long been a human goal, and we now have the resources and technology to make that more of a reality than ever before. The easiest way is the obvious choice, a friction-free life is a dream come true.

In Lent, as we think about sacrifice and the way of the cross, perhaps we should be thinking when and why it might be good to choose the hardest way. In Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we see that the hardest way is chosen for love, to achieve reconciliation, when it is the path to the greater good of others.

We aren’t choosing the easiest way when we live in families and communities, because loving other imperfect human beings can be time-consuming and exhausting. It means we hurt when others hurt, care what they care about, are aware of injustices that define their lives. Loving other people is not a friction-free life, it is not the easiest path.

Loving other people isn’t just about the people we know and love personally, but those we don’t know too. This Lent, it is worth thinking about those who pay the price for others living friction-free lives by working in out-of-sight warehouses or sweatshops. When we live with a loving awareness of the global community and of the earth itself, we are choosing the harder path for the sake of others.

If you want to keep reflecting on this, I would recommend reading This Sacred Life. Humanity’s Place in a Wounded World by Norman Wirzba. It’s not an easy read, but why pick the easiest path? 

By Helen Reid, Leeds Church Institute