I noticed Lent in college. I worked at a video store and heard person after person talk about what they are giving up for Lent. Why? I'm not sure I ever received an answer to that or even asked the question. To an extent, I think I ask that question of myself today. Why do I choose to celebrate Lent?
For me, Lent is a time to examine my life and consider something I can do to walk more as Jesus walked, more as God would have me to be. It is a time of self-reflection and six weeks to commit to communing with God. Perhaps this desire to walk more like Jesus is why I often add more to my life instead of giving up an item-- I've given up a piece of my laziness before. This year, my heart cries because it's been a long-time since continuous communion. There's been time of learning and defending as so many people like to pinpoint queerdom as "the great sin". There's been time of self-doubt because maybe everyone is right and trying to have a relationship with God is just a waste of my time. I can't change my sexual orientation so which of the two things must I discard? There's been time of church hopping, looking for a church home but failing to find a body that practices fierce love and fierce truth. Lately, there's just hopelessness. Rock Bridge was the last church home I had and maybe it's the last church home I will have. Hopelessness is why I've visited less than 12 churches despite 23 months of living in this city. I wrestle with rather or not I want to again explore paganism. It seems to be a religion of such great love. Part of me gravitates to it while the other part cries for the love of Abba and cries from the idea of being torn of my religion of origin, my religion of choice. Fellowshipping with pagans would be choosing something else but choosing only because I am unwanted in my Father's house. The hope of other Christian-Pagans is a weak hope drowned by the large number of Pagan-Pagans, Jesus being far far on the back burner of the overall church.
This Lent, I will go to church. That simple agreement seems so simple and inadequate compared to goals related to taking better care of my Mother's earth or Her temple (me). Going to church is what I use to do weekly, or at least regularly. Where's the sacrifice? The sacrifice is in abandoning all excuses for not being there. The challenge is in facing the hatred, insecurity, and hopelessness that keeps me inside most Sunday mornings.
I've considered giving up my resolve of finding an open and affirming or at least non-condemning church in order to have a body. I've considered starting a community group as a way of being part of a body of believers. Right now, I just commit to show up. 6 Sundays or so, right?
Today, I went to City Fellowship. It was my 3rd visit since being in Jackson. Homework to self is to listen to last week's podcast to see if it sheds lights on the church's handling of homosexuality. The passage was apparently Romans 1. I enjoyed today's sermon; it was the most grabbing of the ones I've heard there. I love their music. The people seem like people I could like in real life. I glean the church has a pro-life stance but I might be able to just differ from them on that; I don't think it's a deal breaker for me. While being there today, boldly seeking the face of the Lord, I did have one revelation: I need to volunteer again. I've gotten into the routine of work, exercise, other extra-curriculars (so to speak) but nothing that consistently pushes me to do for others beyond what I do at work. I care hard at work and am grateful for being in this field but in ways, I'm just a sitter. I need to get back involved. Dining and drinking with politically aware liberals is insufficient... and useless. Helping until 4:30 will not do. The joy I've gotten when doing something for men that are experiencing homeless after hours-- that's something I need to bring back into my life. The Word of God for a person of God. Thanks be to God.
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