The way we talk about God is a direct reflection of how we think about God. When we refer to God with words like "Master" and "Lord," what is it we are reflecting about how we think about God?
These words might seem innocent to us, but what do they sound like to those who are or have been oppressed? What does "master" mean to someone who has been enslaved? What does "lord" mean to someone who has been held captive?
In consideration of what these words might mean to an oppressed audience, Orange Presbyterian Church will adopt a new Lenten practice for 2022.
Ordinarily there is a call to give up something for Lent. This is so we may better reflect on our complete dependence on God in all parts of our life. This year, our Lenten practice will be to give up oppressive language for God.
During the Lenten worship services, OPC will replace oppressive language for God with more creative ways to speak about God. We will explore different biblical stories that reveal to us more about who God is. We will consider God as creator, one who sees, healer, shepherd, the God of peace, and savior. Along the way we might even discover other ways to refer to God.
We will intentionally change words in the scripture readings to avoid using oppressive language. And we'll challenge ourselves to find hymns and liturgy that avoid such language as well.
My hope as the pastor of OPC is that this Lenten practice will broaden our understanding of who God is. And that it will broaden our understanding of how words can be used to oppress.
Grace and peace be with you all,
- Pastor Rebekah