Wednesday Nights in Lent

by Fr. Chris Hardman

Let It Go" is the title of one of the popular songs on Disney's movie, Frozen. Anyone who has young children or grandchildren around the house has not only seen the movie, but has some sort of Frozen merchandise somewhere in their house.

My granddaughter's school teacher related a funny story to my daughter. It seems one of my granddaughter's classmates had to go to the bathroom. She was excused, but did not return as quickly as the teacher thought she should. The teacher went into the bathroom to check on her and found her in the stall singing at the top of her lungs "Let it Go."

That is not only funny; it is filled with truth. If you want to eat some new food, you have to "let go" of the old. It is the way our bodies work physically, but it is also the way we work spiritually as well. Richard Rohr's new book, Eager to Love, begins with this wonderful quote:

           "You cannot hold onto the old,
                all the while declaring that you want something new.
           The old way will defy the new;
           The old way will deny the new;
           The old way will decry the new.
           There is only one way to bring in the new.
           You must make room for it."
                                          Neale Donald Walsch

Historically, Lent has been about adding something new without recognizing the need to let go of the old. Perhaps that is why so much of Christianity comes across as depressing. Maybe we are all constipated. We need to loosen up a bit. So, join me on Wednesday nights in Lent for five sessions on letting go of the old. Our five sessions will be as follows:

February 25th: To Kill a Mockingbird: The Beatitudes and letting go of class, race, and other arbitrary divisions.

March 4th: Incorporating the Negative: Batman Begins: Letting go of what we fear and deny.

March 11th: From Domination to Mutuality in The Piano: letting go of an all masculine world.

March 18th: Contemplation and Shirley Valentine: Letting go of the false self and finding the true self.

March 25th: A Sacramental Universe and Babette's Feast: Letting go of Jesus and finding the Christ.

These five sessions are really an introduction to a Franciscan spirituality that has been around for 700 years. The West has largely ignored this way of thinking in favor of one more focused on human sin. This spirituality does not ignore sin, it just does not make it the center of one's spiritual life. What arises is a more generous Christianity, one that is more inclusive and more life-giving.

We will gather at 6:00 pm in the parish hall for soup and salad. The program will go from 6:30 to 7:30. We hope you will join us.