CAPC Oakland

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Lenten Spiritual Practices


Lent starts today.  It marks the 40 day period before Easter, a season marked by Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday, a season of spiritual pilgrimage during which we are invited less to suffer than to contemplate and experientially meditate upon the sacrifice that Jesus made as he turned towards Jerusalem and eventually was crucified for standing his ground in terms of his theological beliefs, social system-revolutionizing assertions, and political stance.  During Lent we’re invited to give things up, to let things go.  In Medieval Europe that became associated with the Jewish practice of removing leaven from one’s house before Passover.  It became common and customary to give up butter, sugar, lard, syrup, chocolate….delectable things that can be seen as a treat.  In giving them up we might experience a bit of what Jesus gave up to come and show us the way to live and to know life abundantly.


You may or may not observe such spiritual practices in a body-way.  Increasingly voices in the Church challenge Jesus followers to take things on…to try a new practice – mediate for 5 minutes in silence each day, read the Bible daily, limit social media for real conversations, actively practice generosity of time, money or smiles….it’s a way to take on new rhythms and practices in the hopes of letting going of old ones – or letting go in order to let more of God in.


A song from the movie Frozen, by the name of “Let it Go” won the Oscar this past week.  It’s quite famous – and being filmed and performed by countless people and groups.  This song is cute, and wrestles a bit with the theme of spiritual pilgrimage of Lent.  What struck me is seeing how it’s been redone, and the brouhaha around John Travolta putting his foot in his mouth while introducing it at the Oscars.  The broadway star artist – Idina Menzel – redid the song the next night on the Today Show in a funny way.  It stripped it down, deconstructing the song – and yet getting at the true beauty of it.  It might seem trite, or too pop-culturish – yet that’s what Lent is about – not about losing weight by cutting out chocolate, being better in terms of daily habits, or being “more” spiritual – but about deconstructing our lives – simplifying – to remember and realize what is really important – and recognizing that of which we need to let go.



Disney's Frozen
Disney’s Frozen “Let It Go” Sequence Performed by Idina Menzel


Jimmy Fallon, Idina Menzel & The Roots Sing
Jimmy Fallon, Idina Menzel & The Roots Sing “Let It Go” from “Frozen” (w/ Classroom Instruments)


That’s what practices (wether giving up or taking on) are about during a lenten spiritual pilgrimage.  Throughout the next forty days I’ll write daily about faith, proposing practices and concrete ways to be mindful as we life Lent as a spiritual pilgrimage – and aim to do so in every day of the year.

If you’re looking for some ideas to follow, with set-lists proposed from the beginning this one is creative, fresh and urban-flavored:

A list proposed by Rev. Nadia Bloz Weber of the House for All Sinners and Saints [LINK]

Monte will be writing daily devotionals during the season of Lent with reflections and proposed practices at

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This entry was posted on March 6, 2014 by in Celebrate.
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