Starting Today–The Lenten Journey

love out loudToday marks the beginning of the Lenten season. I know from my uber- conservative protestant background, that when Lent or any other Catholic sounding religious observance was mentioned, it would cause cringing and responses something like: “How could you do something so Catholic?” “Don’t you know that Lent is all wrapped up in Tammuz worship?” And, a few years ago I would have been among those saying such ignorant profundity. I would have come across as some sort of religious fascist. But that is not who I am any more. Thank God!
Am I turn-coat? Have I become a Backslider? A closet papist sent to undermine Protestantism? At this point in my life, I really don’t give a flying flip about what others say or think. This is my life. And, how I live out and practice my faith is between me and my Creator. This is my journey.
Lent is solemn observance the forty days leading up to Easter as a time of preparation spent in prayer, repentance and almsgiving. It’s about self denial or focusing on something other than oneself. There is nothing in that description that belongs exclusively to one particular Christian denomination. So, why is it wrong for one to observe Lent?

I think we miss the significance is our focus on Lent is to give something up. The Lenten season leads up to the ultimate act of self denial: Christ giving up His life. But the goal was not to “give up” his life, but to provide a way for humanity to become reconciled with God. The book of Hebrews reads; “Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross” (Heb 12.2 KJV). His sacrifice was focused on us becoming everything we were intended to be.

In my opinion, too many street corners have churches whose purpose is nothing more than being a spiritual crack house. Selling their feel good theology and bringing the holy addicts back week after week with lives just as devoid of their purpose as the week before. Sharing their testimonies of how god blessed with good jobs, good grades and a good parking spot at Wal-Mart while people outside of their holy huddle struggle just to survive. Our world is wracked pain while we patty-cake for Jesus and tell everyone why our church has more truth than their church. We focus on getting members to build our congregation more than we do on building the Kingdom. We have missed the mark and it’s time to change.

So, for the next forty days I’m focusing on becoming more of the man I want to be. And, the man I think God intends for me to be. I will spend my time in reflection and finding ways to help those less fortunate than myself. And, if my observance of Lent offends you—get over it. We all are limited in on how much time we have on the earth. Let’s not waste it all preparing for a world to come when we can help the one we are in become a better place.
God Bless


~ by Daniel Toops on February 13, 2013.

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