Lent and Sacred Resistance

We live in a time of terrible sin. Not merely the horrifying weight of institutional degradation and policies that foment discord. But our own deeply personal sin is now being given extraordinary permission to flourish without check. Consider…

We have fallen prey to forces that negate our neighbor,

We have chosen division over community,

We have chosen to marginalize the poor and dehumanize them,

We have chosen to no longer offer welcome to the stranger,

We have cultivated hatred and resentment rather than love.

Lent cannot have arrived soon enough. For those of us who do the work of resistance, it has to start with self-examination. We have to own responsibility for our own sin. We can’t call anyone to resist if we, ourselves, haven’t done the work of internalized resistance to the temptations of isolation, power, and scapegoating.

We cannot do the work of sacred resistance as long as we see the battle as a zero-sum game, where in order for some to win others have to lose. God’s grace is bigger than that. In fact, the entire project of sacred resistance is about bearing witness to the fact that God’s grace is BIGGER THAN THAT!

Sacred resistance is about doing the work of overthrowing policies, not people. It is about saying no to the politics of division, exclusion, and economic punishment. It is about saying no to the demonization of the poor, people of color, sexual minorities, and women. 

Lent is a time for self-reflection that is not just about getting right with God. It is also about getting right with the world…with neighbor and friend; with ally and antagonist. It is about recognizing the way that the world directly contradicts the work of God toward the beloved-ness of all people, and recognizing our own complicity and disregard for the lowly and oppressed.

It is a time to reflect on the work we have to do to embody sacred resistance, by examining our own sin, our own mortality, and our own fears of scarcity. Pray, fast, give alms. These aren’t the goals but the means by which we confront our sin. Not for a season only, but so that it becomes a pattern of holiness to understand the root of our participation - blind or not - in the mechanisms of the world that leave some of God’s beloved children behind. 

We cannot serve the powerless from a place of power. Only from a place of humility and service. We can’t cease from judgment of others until we have judged our own selves rightly, under the watchful gaze of the God who calls us to love and serve as signs of God’s abundant care for all. The love God gives is not to reserve for ourselves as signs of our spiritual journey, but only for sharing with those who don’t yet know their beloved-ness.

So, if you are called to sacred resistance, use this Lent for the purpose of uncovering those things hidden from the foundation of the world…the works of violence, sin, and privilege that infect our hearts and close them off to one another. If we don’t do this, then our work will perish.