“Can o’ corn!” my high school baseball coach, Coach Hogan, used to quip whenever one of us popped up. “Can o’ corn,” in baseball slang, means “Easy play.” Boy, did I ever give Coach Hogan opportunities to say, “Can o’ corn.”
Patheos’ Deborah Arca has asked some of us, If we’ve never considered a spiritual practice for Lent, what is a first step, or a first experience, we might consider?
Heck, the answer to that is a can o’ corn.
No, I mean it: “Can o’ corn.”
It’s easy to set our goals too high, to make our aspirations too lofty. So we never start. Or finish.
So start with something you can call a “can o’ corn.” An easy play. Something within reach.
Try, in fact, a can o’ corn. Every day set aside one can of corn for people who are hungry.
Or green beans. Or a can of pears. Or fruit cocktail. Or peas, if you feel you have to. (Not, however, a can of tomatoes. My experience at the food bank tells me hungry people don’t tend to go for stewed tomatoes. Peas, maybe. Tomatoes, no.)
One can a day makes for 40 cans or so during Lent. Not bad.
Now add something to that. As you set the can o’ corn aside, pray. Something simple. A can o’ corn kind of prayer, like:
“Jesus, thank you for my daily bread.”
“Jesus, help me to be generous.”
“Jesus, teach me to laugh in the face of tragedy this Lent, even at corny jokes.”
See, you’ve helped to solve hunger and developed a prayer life, all in one fell Lenten swoop.
Finally, team up with someone else. You’ve still got a couple of days (I think Lent is more than 40 days) to call or text or facebook or email a friend, or a few friends, so that the food you put together can make a meal. If you give a can o’ corn, have your friend give canned peaches. If you’ve got another friend, have him or her contribute a tube (what do you call those square wrappers that hold saltines?) of crackers or one of those little bags of nuts from Costco (they’re worth, I think, about 70 cents each) or a little bag of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. You get the point, right? Team up, and you can create a whole meal a day.
That’s 3 easy steps to 40 days of meaning.
Give a can o’ corn each and every day during Lent.
Repeat a prayer each and every day during Lent.
Join with others each and every day during Lent.
If you do these three simple, achievable, manageable, beneficial things each day during Lent, you’ll
Reduce world hunger
Develop a prayer life
Cherish your friends more
Can you manage it? You bet you can. Can o’ corn!