As the season of Lent approaches, many are still uneducated and lack wisdom on what Lent is and how it deepens spiritual practices. In this article, the Black Church contributes to giving people knowledge and understanding of how the church can teach the purpose of Lent to the people.
According to an author in Christianity Today, there is a brief overlap between the season of Lent and Black History Month each year. Yet, more resources are needed on how these two traditions could intersect. Lent is a time for Christians to reflect on their faith and honor Christian tradition. The author suggests that this is a significant opportunity to consider the overlap between Lent and Black History Month.
The Potential Intersection of Lent and Black History
The article shared by USCCB says that the purpose of Lent is to prepare for the celebration of the Lord's Resurrection at Easter. During Lent, people seek the Lord through prayer, serve by giving alms, and practice self-control through fasting. The goal is to achieve an inner conversion of the heart and follow Christ's will more faithfully. Lent also recalls the waters of baptism in which people were baptized into Christ's death, died to sin and evil, and began a new life in Christ.
While many people know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, the people are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season. Giving alms is also an essential aspect of Lent, and people are called to share their God-given gifts, not only through the distribution of money but also through the sharing of their time and talents.
The article shared by an author in Christianity Today discusses the intersection of Lent and Black History and how it can be an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Black believers and the role Christianity has played in both the oppression and liberation of Black people.
Many historical examples of Black Christians are highlighted, including Frederick Douglass, Richard Allen, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and Dr. King, who integrated spiritual practices into their public work of furthering justice. Richard Allen is particularly significant as he opened the first African Methodist Episcopal Church, which paved the way for Black Americans to establish churches of varying denominations and affiliations.
The Black Church is described as a cultural cauldron that Black people created to combat a system designed to crush their spirit, and the culture they created was sublime, excellent, majestic, lofty, glorious, and subversive of the larger culture of enslavement that sought to destroy their humanity.
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Some Black People See Season of Lent as a Reminder of their Suffering
The article shared by an author in Baptist News says that there is a reason why some Black churches and denominations do not practice Lent. Some Black Americans still carry the despair and trauma of white theological privilege daily; therefore, they do not need seasonal reminders of suffering.
The author affirms the willingness of white people practicing Lent to engage in self-emptying and waiting to be filled but emphasizes the importance of recognizing how much deeper this season could be if we looked for ways to meet Jesus in the severely severe ones who have been oppressed. The celebration of Lent and Black History Month could converge into a single dance and have the potential to change the entire cultural and political system to make this experience last longer than just a season.
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