Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Blogger just lost a really long post I was almost done with. That makes me sad. I’ll try to re-create it, but I’m really annoyed right now!!!

Okay, so last Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, which is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Growing up in the Baptist church, I was never really exposed to the Liturgical calendar. I’m sure some Baptist churches follow it, but I was never aware of it in any of the churches I attended (perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention). The point is that the church Adam and I attend now follows the Liturgical calendar throughout the year, and it’s been neat learning about the different seasons and their meanings.

I guess I’ll digress for a moment and talk a little bit about our church. Since Adam and I moved to Austin in 2005, we have been part of a startup church or "church plant" called Immanuel. Immanuel is a non-denominational church, but it has its roots in the Church of Christ. It started with three couples, our pastors (Kester and Rachel), the Jerkins (Nathan and Melissa), and us. Now we have approximately 30 members. Smaller groups meet in peoples’ homes on Sundays for "house church" - which is basically Bible study, dinner, and Communion - then we all come together to worship on Wednesdays. The idea is that the house churches will stay pretty small to encourage participation and fellowship, so any time a house church regularly has 15-20 people attending from week to week, that group will "birth" (weird term, I know, but it’s better than "split") another house church. So, what started out as one house church is now three, and that number will hopefully just keep growing, Lord willing! Being a part of this church has been quite illuminating for Adam and me. Neither of us ever felt a particular "calling" to the ministry, but we knew when we moved here that we wanted to be more involved in our next church – we wanted to be more than weekly attendees. So we started visiting the larger, more traditional congregations in the area. Meanwhile, Adam got hired at BookPeople and soon befriended Kester - another (if not the only other) employee who was a believer. As we got to know Kester and Rachel better, they told us that they had moved to Austin from North Carolina to start a church. We basically told them we admired their goal and wished them luck! Sure, we wanted to be MORE involved in church, but helping START a church seemed like too big a leap. Eventually, though, we recognized that God was asking us to do this, so we committed to one year on the "core team" to help get things started. It was an amazing time of growth and learning that we are so thankful for. We have since stepped down from any leadership role, but this church continues to be a wonderfully meaningful part of our lives!

As I mentioned at the beginning, until a few years ago I didn’t really know anything about Lent, or Advent, or Epiphany, etc. Honestly, I’m still learning, and I don’t profess to be any kind of Biblical scholar or expert. As our pastor put it, Lent is a time when you give something up, something that you will miss and will be difficult to go without (i.e. TV, meat, caffeine, Facebook, etc.); the absence of this something creates a void, which leaves more room to be filled with God's Spirit and to bring some fulfillment and blessing into the lives of others. I also like how this website puts it: "It is done as a discipline for learning self-control, to free our minds from the chase after material things, to tell ourselves 'no' and make it stick; to identify with Christ's sufferings, and remember what the true pleasures are for followers of Christ; as an act of sorrow over our wrongdoings and our state of sin. Sometimes we don't notice how certain things we do have gained power over us and dictate our actions. In Lent fasts, we discover these things and give them up so that God can be in charge." In the act of giving something up, we open up opportunities for God to bless us and for us to bless others, so by taking something away from your life, you are actually adding something to it.

I admit that my past participation in this season has been lukewarm; I guess I'm still working on allowing it to resonate in my own life. Two years ago I gave up checking perezhilton.com at work every morning and I fasted for the three days before Easter; last year I couldn’t even think of anything to give up…Perez’s site was blocked by our IT department, and I was pregnant so I couldn’t fast. This year I’m determined to put forth more of an effort. I'm starting with something relatively simple – sweets (that I can’t seem to get enough of lately!) - and praying that God will illuminate additional possibilities as Lent continues. I ask for your prayers in that and will pray that all of our blog followers will be blessed during this season!!

1 comment:

  1. great explanation, my friend. praying that God will reveal to you anything else He has in mind for you during this season.