Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, the 40 day period of reflection, repentance, and change of life leading up to Easter. Having come, first out of the Catholic tradition, then the Episcopalian/Anglican, I have long considered this time of year as a period of spiritual renewal. Non-liturgical churches periodically have their revival meetings and preaching missions that call the “backslidden” and lukewarm back to the everlasting arms. Well for me, this period is similar though much longer and possibly more intense.
Today is day two of my Lenten journey. I have been a valley for some time, out of place and out of sorts. Some of it was expected. After being wrenched by conscience out of my church community of 27 years by the abhorrent actions of the Episcopal hierarchy, some period of adjustment was to be expected. However, it slowly became evident that the place where I landed wasn’t a proper fit for me or my wife. It wasn’t a failure of doctrine or belief. Also, don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying I wasn’t being fed or the new church didn’t meet my needs or that something about it wasn’t what I was looking for. I consider those arguments irrelevant and in many ways problematic when Christians make them. No, I am saying I didn’t fit, I didn’t belong. I don’t know how else to verbalize it. I had fallen into that congregation as an easy place to recover from what had happened at my previous church home. I knew a lot of the people and I was welcomed with open arms. For that I was and am very grateful, but try as I might I just didn’t, for lack of a better way of saying it, fit. Alas, what I had hoped to be a destination was apparently a way station instead. I believe that God made this clear to me in oh so many ways, but it took me almost six months to acquiesce to what he was saying to me.
So, change has started and more is coming. With that in mind I am praying that God will use these Lenten days to help me to understand where he wants me to go, what he wants me to do. It is strange to think about these things out loud, in front of anyone who happens to pass by this little blog, but I believe that this too is part of the process, part of what God wants me to do. Transparency is scary, but it is also accountable and maybe that is the issue for me, to be accountable. Therefore, I invite you to be part of the process, and if God so wills, to encourage, call to task, admonish, correct, and advise. Afterall, we all do what we do in front a of great cloud of witnesses anyway, don’t we? (Hebrews 12:1)
Grace and peace be unto all of you and may your Lenten period be as fruitful as I expect mine to be. Amen.
Update: 3:30 pm Sometimes serendipidy causes me to stumble across an old post (usually when seeing what visitors to my site are reading). This afternoon I reread my Faults and Faultlines posting from last November. I mention it because I think the subject applies to my Lenten concerns and one question sticks out as I go about the rest of my day:
While I believe that God is beyond any problem, being able to heal anything, solve anything, fix anything, what about our fault lines? Are they healable or are they part of our essential falleness, something we will have to carry with us and struggle against until we pass through the final cleansing fire of redemption (1 Cor. 3:13-15)?