The Lenten season begins by people asking what they need to do or give up to live into their faith. This year I’ve spent a considerable amount of time questioning what it means to not only call myself a Christian but how I can live in a way that honors the teachings and example of Jesus. I’m drawn to the words of Micah 6:8 that remind me that part of this is lived through standing for justice, embracing mercy, and walking humbly before God and others.
What does that even mean?
Well…I’m going to spend the next 40 days or so committing to the Fast of Embodied Solidarity to explore that.
To stand for justice one must pay attention to the world around them and identify injustices they encounter.
I, like many of you, have been following the situation between Wheaton College and Dr. Larycia Hawkins – the professor reprimanded by college administrators for wearing a hijab in a Facebook photo and quoting Pope Francis that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. I feel that Wheaton’s mistreatment of Dr. Hawkins reveals realities of racism, sexism, Islamophobia, and other ways in which the Christian faith has become complicit in oppression and dishonoring the humanity and imago dei present in others.
That said, I am choosing to stand in #EmbodiedSolidarity with others who are tired of the(ir) Christian witness being used to subjugate others instead of inspiring healing and #TrueReconciliation.
This call began with an Ash Wednesday liturgy and teach-in at Wheaton that launched a 40-day, Lenten fast for the college and all of the nation’s (evangelical) Christian institutions to confess and repent of the sins of racism, sexism and Islamophobia, and recognize that all humans have dignity and are created equal in the eyes of God.
I’m not alone in asking feeling the need for lament, there are hundreds of others committed to this Fast of Embodied Solidarity and I want to invite you to join us as we spend Lent lamenting in community.
Those wishing to get engaged can do so in a few ways:
- Participate in the Fast of Embodied Solidarity during Lent! Fasting is a way of conditioning oneself to hear God and others more clearly or express contrition. There are no set rules with this fast – people can choose to abstain from food, intentionally engage in dialogue with others, commit to prayer, share thoughts/post how they engage the fast via social media (e.g. #EmbodiedSolidarity or #TrueReconcilliation), etc. The point is to incline your heart, spirit, and personhood to stand in solidarity with others and out of that, do what you can to push back at the things and systems that fail to uphold the dignity of others.
- Engage with the online community who is fasting together. You can do this by joining the Fast of Embodied Solidarity facebook group or by following hashtags like #EmbodiedSolidarity or #TrueReconciliation on that platform and Twitter. There you will not only find people to connect with but also encounter things like encouragements, devotionals, and other things people are finding in the midst of this action.
- Consider writing a devotional. We want to hear from members of our community as we journey; you can sign up for that here.
- Stay on the lookout for opportunities to ask hard questions or engage in lament and interactions that inspire new vision. For example, #Evangelicals4Justice hosted a Twitter Lament on Wednesday encouraging people to share their thoughts and heartbreak on the bigotry present in the Church.
Any way that you feel inspired, please feel free to get involved. There is so much happening in our world and we have the ability to push back and be/work for the response that we’ve been waiting for.
I hope you’ll join me in responding to this call for #EmbodiedSolidarity.