Well, I should have taken many bloggers’ advice and not made resolutions or Lenten promises at all. I can never keep them. In fact, most of the traditional Christian practices such as prayer and meditation are way beyond me, it would seem. I’ve always taken the position that if God is God, then I don’t need to seek Him out, He will find me when He’s good and ready. The more I seek, the more God moves away, so why expend the energy? Christians love to say that if we are having a hard time finding faith then we are the ones who probably are “moving away” from God not the other way around. I find this ridiculous. If “Christ is all and in all,” then no matter where I move, God is going to be there (Colossians 3:11). I just can’t sense it at the time. If I am indeed a believer, sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30), then I don’t need to go searching after God, I just have to focus inward and listen.Well, since all the Lenten practices seem focused on the outward, I specifically stayed away from fasting, giving up food, going to Mass on certain days, and so forth because these are ineffective in bringing one any closer to God, at least for me they are ineffective. You cannot get any closer to God than you are already, if you believe. Besides, according to Colossians 2:
16 … do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ… 20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
These practices call attention to earthly things and, like the scripture says, lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. In fact, I think people get a certain pride out of how much they can fast or even that they can fast at all!
So, I eschewed the usual practices and took the unusual step of giving up institutional religion altogether. I should have known that wouldn’t work either. Saturday night we went to our area Chamber of Commerce Trivia Night. We were at our deacon friend and his wife’s table and naturally we all had a good time, had some drinks (it was at the KC Hall) and enjoyed a rousing game of trivia. Feeling particularly jovial, one of them asked if I’d be at church the next day and I said that I would. Well, I went and here I am not the worse for wear by any means. In fact, I feel pretty good about it. Yup, Lenten-ly challenged.
Anyway, at church yesterday I felt convicted by my less than humble spirit:
Psalm 1:1 How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the assembly of scoffers!
I think God’s messin’ with my head. I also think that I’ve gotten myself a nice, comfy seat with scoffers here on the internet and I don’t like it. I’ve been thinking I need to change my ways or get out of Dodge.