Lent-a Journey

Lent2013_580I didn’t grow up with any real religious inclination. Mom would take us to church periodically, but we were never members or actively involved in any church. But that all changed when I was about 15.
We (my mom, I and my three younger sisters) started attending a Pentecostal church in Longwood, Florida. I still remember my first Sunday strolling into this church of about forty members. I defiantly stood out with my 70’s look in comparison to these ultra conservative believers. Though it was mom’s idea to start attending there, something began to compel me to find out more about this whole God business. And, in December of 1976 I was baptized
I began pouring myself into my new faith and soon started working toward pastoral ministry. I was ordained, pastor of two churches, served as a missionary, wrote extensively for the Pentecostal denomination I was a part of and then things began to change. The words of Audio Slave’s “Doesn’t remind me” come to my mind-
“The things that I’ve loved the things that I’ve lost
The things I’ve held sacred that I’ve dropped
I won’t lie no more you can bet
I don’t want to learn what I’ll need to forget”
I stepped away from that denomination, the theology I believed unquestionably and nearly thirty years of pastoral ministry. The time has come to start fresh and I am.
I’ve entered a new “relationship” with god. Throwing out the notions of who I thought he was and have begun to search for who he really is. I am searching for something that caught my soul when I was fifteen but was buried beneath religion. I learned that equating my faith and religious practice was the wrong the thing to do.
This year Easter season will mark the first time in years that I am not observing the pinnacle of the Christian faith as a pastor. So, I thought “as long as I am trying something new why not try observing: Lent?” I have had some misconceptions of Lent. In my former denomination Lent was not practiced as it was considered too Catholic. And, I had the notion that Lent was about abstaining from things that don’t make a difference about anything. To me the goal is about becoming. Becoming one who embraces the message of Jesus Christ—loving God and loving people. It is about becoming more of the person I really want to be.
So, starting this Ash Wednesday I am starting a journey. It doesn’t include flogging myself or giving up chocolate. Nor does it include rising before the sun and spending extend periods of time in prayer and fasting. Where will I end up? I really don’t know. But it is a place to start. This will be a spiritual journey not a religious one. And, I invite anyone who wants to come along to join me. Let’s find out where the journey goes.

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~ by DanielToops.com on February 7, 2013.

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