Two posts in one night. In my previous post I explained that I was going to start using my blog to just get my thoughts and feelings out because I think I have discovered about myself that I have trouble doing that for various reasons and instead hold a lot inside. That is not very conducive to relationship with others or God so I am using this vehicle to change that about myself. So I have had a thought that I want to share.
My church is making a deal out of Lent. I have never been to a church that made a deal out of Lent. It didn’t seem odd to me until now. Why was that? I went to a Catholic high school for boys for about 2.5 years. They really celebrated Lent, and I participated from afar. I think that I just always thought it was a Catholic thing, and since my denomination was Protestant, then we just didn’t do that. But my current church, Wheatland Mission, is not Catholic either. So why Lent?
I am fully participating in Lent this year, ashes and fasting and all, and am feeling some sort of depth in me that I haven’t quite known before. I can’t really describe it much better than that yet. It just feels deep. Maybe it is the solemness off it all. I am not sure. I think I feel a new kind of connection with Christ. Maybe that is it. That depth. I am recognizing, during Lent, that I am broken and that despite this, God loves me enough to redeem me along with all that he has created. Christ’s work on the cross displays that love for me. And I am haunted by that fact. Humbled by that fact.
So why did the denomination of which I was a part not see the value in emphasizing Lent? I wonder if it is the focus on our brokenness. This denomination preaches “entire sanctification” as a second point in time, after a point of salvation, where one becomes without sin and able to live without sin. This is the way I have understood what was taught to me. Now it is sure possible that I misunderstand it, but I know of at least two individuals (not relatives), one older than me and one younger than me, who are as commited to that denomination as it is possible to be, that I know have stated that they live without sin. Also, I sat in a class at one of the largest churches in the denomination taught by one of the professors at the nearby denominational university who himself was a graduate of the denominational seminary during which he fashioned for the class a diagram that showed how when one sins after being sanctified, salvation and sanctification are then lost and have to be resought. So it seems to me that while the actual beliefs on paper may not state it so clearly, the culture of the denomination states it very clearly.
In that sort of culture, I don’t think it is possible to have any sort of meaningful focus on Lent, where we recognize our brokenness (much different that worthlessness by the way) in a sort of mournful stance in honor of the work that Christ did. In that culture, our brokenness is spoken of on paper, but I don’t think it is really believed because of the emphasis on sinlessness, an emphasis which further implies that a state has been reached where grace is no longer needed.
So maybe I am way off base here. Some of my denominational friends may rise up against me here. But maybe I hit on something too. Just putting my thoughts out there. Thanks for reading.