Would Your Church Give Up ‘Whiteness’ for Lent? This One Did
First of all, let's get a definition of Lenten sacrifice: A Lenten sacrifice is a spiritually motivated voluntary renunciation of a pleasure or luxury that most Christians (especially Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, Moravians and the Reformed) give up for the observance of Lent, which starts on Ash Wednesday and runs til Easter Sunday.
What is a Lenten Sacrifice?
Pretty simple, right? One prepares for the day (Good Friday) marking the crucifixion of Christ and then, Easter, the celebration of His resurrection. And those sacrifices can take many forms, usually giving up something (meat, liquor, soda, candy, etc.) to honor the Lord.
This Church Says, 'We Can Give Up Being White'
But one church in Illinois has decided that it can best honor the Son of God by giving up it's whiteness. That's right, the First United Oak Park in Oak Park, Illinois, is, in their own words, "fasting from whiteness" this Lenten season.
And how does one give up one's whiteness? Well, according to the Chicago area Methodist church's website, they are dropping music or liturgy written or composed by white people. “Our music will be drawn from the African American spirituals tradition, from South African freedom songs, from Native American traditions, and many, many more,” they say.
In addition, the church put up a sign on its grounds explaining that its worship services would be built “around the voices of Black people, indigenous people, and people of color.”
An Explanation On the Church's Site
Amidst the controversy surrounding move, First United Church of Oak Park attempted to explain:
"Our Lenten theme has spurred considerable discussion, with some people questioning the message. In practice with the Lenten spiritual discipline of fasting, our intent was to lay aside our usual frames of reference and open ourselves to hearing the Gospel message through the voices of Black People, Indigenous People, and People of Color. Our worship services in Lent have been diverse and beautiful. We pray that God oils the hinges of our hearts’ doors that they might swing open gently to receive the good news of Christ’s resurrection, which we all await at the culmination of Lent."