2017 Lenten Theme: Unlearn Fear + Hate

Mark Johnson | February 28, 2017

"You never forget how to ride a bicycle.”  Have you heard this before?  Perhaps you’ve not been on a bike since you were a kid, but found years later you could still negotiate the balance and skill necessary to pick right back up where you left off.

But what if just one small variable changed? Could you still ride a bike if a simple adjustment was reversed?  In the 8 minute video below, you will watch an amazing presentation that illustrates not only how we learn, but how once we learn something in a particular way it becomes very difficult to make future changes.


play_arrow Play Video


Pretty crazy!  And you may be wondering what this has to do with the practice of Lent?

This year, we will focus our Lenten journey on the process of “unlearning.”  Unlearning starts with the recognition that we have, over time, developed very specific biases in the course of our lives.  These perspectives have served us well, but they are not universal.  Everyone has their own set of discriminations.

The Christian practice of Lent is a purposed and discipline plan of letting go, of changing our patterns, of seeking to approach our life from a fresh angle. It may require a different pattern of behavior or response.  It may seek to undo old and more familiar ways before new connections and pathways can be made.

And just like in the video, such a process can be difficult and frustrating. What would motivate us to make such changes?  Why put forward such effort if the old ways are sufficient?

I’m have been drawn to the insight that “God loves us just as we are and loves us too much to allow us to stay just as we are.”  God’s care for us is both a confirmation and a calling.  God affirms us in order to transform us.  We are approved by God, not as final products, but as worthy recipients of being drawn deeper and deeper into a way of life that is more holy, gracious, forgiving and capable for great good in the world.

It takes effort.  It will take some unlearning before there is re-learning.  Won’t you join us for worship this Lenten season?  Plan now on considering these themes and these activities as we again start this journey together.

Lenten Worship Themes 2017

  • March 5 - Unlearn Fear
  • March 12 - Unlearn Worry
  • March 19 - Unlearn Shame
  • March 26 - Unlearn Death
  • April 2 - Unlearn Hatred (proposed joint worship with Quinn Chapel AME)
  • April 9 - Unlearn Power (Palm Sunday)
  • April 16 - Relearn Life (Resurrection Sunday)

I hope to see you Sunday.  It will be as easy as riding a bike!

3 months


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