Lent is a time for embodied decolonized practices. Did you know that Liturgy is portable? Jesus lets us know in his comment to the woman at the well when she asks where the proper place for worship is. Jesus responds “God is Spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) God’s people have a long practice of feasting and fasting in households along the journey. Of course, we long to be physically together, but necessary separation should not discourage us from embodying communion. Rituals provide continuity and embodied connection with our faith. Like submerging in baptism, lighting a candle on your birthday, eating and drinking in communion with one another, Lent can be a meaningful marker to the season. Here are some ways we can journey together.
- Practice the ritual of Ash Wednesday. Create ashes and smudge one another’s foreheads as an act of remembrance. Historically, people have used the palm branches from the year before, but you can be creative. As you do this, tell your family about our connectedness to the land and our creator. Ask God to grow your desire for solidarity with other marginalized communities.
- Communal Examination. We can and should invite one another in our communities to self-examination and repentance; by praying, fasting, and meditating on scripture. Ask for forgiveness from those you have dismissed, harmed, or silenced. Repent for the times you have kept silent and raise your voice on behalf of others suffering.
- Give Up or Pick Up something that will be a blessing to your body. Communal discernment on fasting from something or inserting a new practice could bless you and renew you. Focusing on food is not always helpful for folks who have a complicated relationship with eating.
- Read Scripture and books from other margins, specifically with people who are of a different ethnic racial class and denominational perspective. Listen to music. Read poetry or view visual art from the margins. Consider utilizing the book “The Way Up is Down” by Marlena Graves.
- Center BIPOC voices. Black Christians have been denouncing systems of racism in the church for years. Brown Jesus-loving theologians have been decolonizing faith for years. Listen to this 50-year-old preaching from Urbana Mission Conference 1970 “The Liberator has come” by Tom Skinner. Discuss it with the people on the journey with you. Talk about what you can do to make sure the church in 2070 is not needing the same message.
- Embodied solidarity. Look for ways that we as BIPOC folk can advocate and elevate one another’s struggles for justice. Consider following the Chasing Justice Podcast for ways to do that.
- Give Generously to BIPOC led movements and people caring for the most vulnerable. Make your budget a place where you practice fasting and emptying.
- Follow one of the following BIPOC-led Lenten Experiences: Reclaiming My Theology and Eloheh.