Lent is often described as a time of preparation… a time to journey deeper into our relationship with God, the mystery that is the journey of Jesus to the cross, His death and resurrection.
LENTEN DEVOTIONAL CALENDAR:
Following in the footsteps of an Advent Calendar, the St. Matt’s Racial Equity Group has created the the Lenten Calendar below– 40+ days of activities, thoughts, readings, and experiences to help us use this particular Lent as a time of reflection on areas of inequity in our communities and in our own lives. Most activities will take between 5 and 30 minutes, with an occasional full-length film or play. You may find it helpful to keep a journal during this time. A PDF version of our Equity Lenten Calendar is available HERE.
If some of these do not resonate with you, extrapolate from what’s here and make up your own. Feel free to share your thoughts at our Wednesday Lenten Soup Suppers, or email the St. Matt’s Racial Equity Group at email@example.com.
MID-WEEK LENTEN CONVERSATION
On Wednesdays in Lent from 6-7pm, we also gather for Zoom Soup Suppers and Conversations on the Biblical foundations of God's vision of equity and our human challenge to advance equity in regard to medical treatment, race, disability, immigration and LGBTQIA+ inclusion. Join our Zoom Gathering HERE. Our Discussion Guide is available HERE.
Weds, Feb 17. Ash Wednesday. Join the St. Matt’s Ash Wednesday worship on Zoom (6-7pm) with the imposition of ashes. Link: stmatthewsnoho.org/Lent2021Zoom or Meeting ID: 882 8190 4255 Passcode: Lent2021
Fri, Feb. 19. Read or listen to Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hill We Climb,” which she recited at the presidential inauguration. Amanda Gorman is honest, but not hopeless. “our nation isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.” How would our city, our nation, and our world be different if we followed Romans 12:9-21?
Sat, Feb. 20. Watch Oprah Winfrey’s 1992 recreation (32 minutes) of Jane Elliott’s “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” exercise. How is our society today divided - even subconsciously - into those supposedly “superior” and “inferior”? What are the consequences?
Sun, Feb. 21. Online church! At 10:30am on Facebook @stmatthewsnoho
Mon, Feb 22. Read Matthew 22:34-40. Look up the current LA County Covid-19 death rate by Race, Ethnicity & Poverty level. What might cause these disparities? What would be different if we took to heart the second-greatest commandment?
Tues, Feb 23. Read this article from The Atlantic on disease and oppression and view the 16th-century Aztec art depicting the smallpox epidemic. Why are indigenous and communities of color more vulnerable to Covid-19 (and other health problems) than white Americans?
Weds, Feb. 24. Join St. Matt’s for soup supper and conversation on Zoom. Link: stmatthewsnoho.org/Lent2021Zoom or Meeting ID: 882 8190 4255
Thur, Feb 25. Watch “Moving the Race Conversation Forward” by Race Matters. (Video at the bottom of the page.) What are the four different levels of racism described? Think of examples of each from your own experience.
Fri, Feb 26. Read Peggy McIntosh’s 1988 essay “Unpacking the Invisible Backpack.” How many of the privileges listed apply to you?
Sat, Feb 27. Watch Ava DuVernay’s documentary “13th.” (100 min). Angela Davis states that “historically, when one looks at efforts to create reforms, they inevitably lead to more repression.” What can we do to end this cycle?
Sun, Feb 28. Online church! At 10:30am on Facebook @stmatthewsnoho
Find a book that looks interesting from the St. Matt’s Racial Equity Group recommended reading list. Commit to reading it over the next six months. Most are free through the Los Angeles Public Library.
Mon, March 1. Read this article by Ibram X. Kendi. How does Kendi’s vision of American compare with Amanda Gorman’s (above, Feb 19)? How do you think God views America?
If you find yourself challenged, consider reading one of Kendi’s books.
E-books, audiobooks, and print copies are available free through the LAPL.
Tues, March 2. Look at the photo of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, Poland. How does it change your view of God to think of Jesus and Mary as Black? Conversely, how does it impact your view of God, and of humans, when we consistently see Christ depicted as White?
Weds, March 3. Join St. Matt’s for soup supper and conversation on Zoom. Link: stmatthewsnoho.org/Lent2021Zoom or Meeting ID: 882 8190 4255
Fri, March 5. Read or listen to Marilyn Wilson’s 2020 poem “Realization” and Langston Hughes’s 1935 poem: “Let America Be America Again.” Were we ever the America that Hughes envisioned in 1935? Are we today? What do we still need to work on?
Sat, March 6. Go somewhere – or look out the window – and pay attention to the race, gender, and other characteristics of the people you see (religion, ethnicity, social class, sexuality, disability, etc.). Who are in positions of power? What groups are underrepresented in that environment? Why? Examples: Why are the majority of Latinx in your neighborhood gardeners and house cleaners? Why are there so few wheelchair users at St. Matt’s?
Sun, March 7. Online church! At 10:30am on Facebook @stmatthewsnoho
Mon, March 8. Read this article by Deaf theologian Jana Bennett on how deafness can impact someone’s Christian experience. How do race, gender, disability, sexuality, or immigration status impact your own experience of church and/or faith, in both positive and negative ways?
If you care to share, the St. Matt’s Racial Equity Group would love to hear about your experiences. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tues, March 9. Watch deafblind disability advocate Haben Girma’s 2014 TedEx talk on “Why I work to remove access barriers for students with disabilities.” (A more recent interview is here.) How does she answer that question?
Weds, March 10. Join St. Matt’s for soup supper and conversation on Zoom. Link: stmatthewsnoho.org/Lent2021Zoom Meeting ID: 882 8190 4255
Thur, March 11. St. Matt’s is a majority white, majority non-disabled church. How can we make our church welcoming to those of other races and to people with various disabilities? Email the Racial Equity Group (email@example.com) with suggestions.
Fri, March 12. Watch Conejo Players Theatre's online production of “The Mountaintop,” a two-person drama about the last days of Martin Luther King, Jr., co-produced by our own Denice Stradling. March 12 (8pm), 13 (2pm & 8pm), & 14 (2pm). Tickets $1 minimum donation.
The play does not have ASL interpretation. A link to the script will be available here from March 12 to 14.
Sat, March 13. Watch the documentary “Crip Camp” (106 minutes), on the history of the disability rights movement, executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama. What can we learn from the campers at Camp Jened about fighting for change?
For something lighter, watch “Soul” (Pixar, 2020) on Disney Plus.
Sun, Mar 14. Online church! At 10:30am on Facebook @stmatthewsnoho.
Mon, March 15. Look at the artwork “Queer Butterfly,” a self-portrait of the queer undocumented L.A. artist Julio Salgado. Listen to this interview with the artist. What issues does he describe that he and other undocumented, and especially queer undocumented immigrants face? Why are these issues invisible to the majority of Americans?
Tues, March 16. Read Hebrews 13:1-2. What can we do - as individuals or as a church - to show hospitality to strangers and to remember those who are mistreated? Email the Racial Equity Group (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have ideas to share.
Weds, March 17. Join St. Matt’s for soup supper and conversation on Zoom. Link: stmatthewsnoho.org/Lent2021Zoom. Meeting ID: 882 8190 4255
Thur, March 18. Read the ELCA social message on immigration (English or Spanish) - or at least the introduction. Look up the Bible verses referenced. What are the scriptural foundations for the ELCA’s message?
Fri, March 19. Take one or more of the “implicit bias” tests developed at Harvard University. Are you surprised by the results? What can you do to limit the influence of bias in your interactions with others?
Sun, March 21. Online church! At 10:30am on Facebook @stmatthewsnoho
Mon, March 22. See if your hometown (or current home), or towns nearby, were Sundown Towns. (North Hollywood was likely not a Sundown Town. Burbank, Glendale, and San Fernando Valley were.) What has been the long-term impact of housing discrimination in your area?
It may also be helpful to read about redlining.
Tues, March 23. Dr. T.J. Tallie describes his self-photography as “selfie-care,” or in academic lingo, “a way of reinserting myself [as a queer, fat black man] into a space that systematically denied me every day.” Read Psalm 139:13-16. Take your own selfie and rest in the certainty that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Weds, March 24. Join St. Matt’s for soup supper and conversation on Zoom. Link: stmatthewsnoho.org/Lent2021Zoom or Meeting ID: 882 8190 4255
Thur, March 25. Read 1 Cor 1: 26-31. Search online for your own image, article, video, or song that speaks to you about God’s vision of equity. Share it with the Racial Equity Group. (email@example.com).
Fri, March 26. Think of 5 ways in which your race, sexuality, citizenship or ability/disability impacts your daily life. What would you experience differently if you were not part of that group? Choose a category in which you are part of the majority, which you may not often think about.
For example, if you identify as LGBTQ+, do not choose sexuality. You probably think about that regularly already.
Sat, March 27. Today is the first day of Passover, the Jewish holiday remembering God delivering the Jews from slavery in Egypt. Read the Passover story (Exodus 12). While eating the piece of matzo, listen to Paul Robeson or Louis Armstrong sing “Let my People Go,” or listen/watch Doris S. Wheeler sing and sign it.
Sun, March 28. Palm Sunday. Online church!
10:30am on Facebook @stmatthewsnoho
Mon, March 29. Read Matthew 19:16-30. Assess your finances. Do your financial choices reflect a commitment to equity? What might you want to change?
If you don’t think of yourself as “rich,” this video may give you some perspective.
Tues, March 30. Talk to someone about something you have learned or one way you’ve grown this Lenten season. Ask them to hold you accountable to apply it. Read Luke 6:31.
Weds, March 31. Read John 13:1-17. After focusing these past 6 weeks on the sin and injustice in and around us, this passage gives us hope - Christ will make us clean! What parts of your life need Jesus’ cleansing? This is a good time to repent and accept God’s forgiveness.
Thurs, April 1. Maundy Thursday.
St Matt’s Maundy Thursday service, Facebook @stmatthewsnoho, 7:30pm.
Fri, April 2. Good Friday. Remember Christ’s crucifixion by watching Reymont Anderson (or Ronaldo Feliciano) perform Ray Boltz’s “Watch The Lamb” in ASL (lyrics).
St Matt’s Good Friday service, Facebook @stmatthewsnoho, 7:30pm.
Sat, April 3. These past 6 weeks, we have considered some complex and painful issues. What has been most meaningful to you? Write your own poem or prayer in response, or create a work of art, music, or video. Be creative! Allow your soul to respond, not just your mind.
For example: a poem/prayer/song/collage/etc of repentance, petition for healing of our country, or celebrating Christ’s resurrection.
Sunday, April 4. Celebrate the resurrection of Christ!
St. Matt’s Easter service, Facebook @stmatthewsnoho at 10:30 am