Lent and Organic Church

This year has be a significant change in my life.  Instead of being in school, as I have been for the past twenty-three-and-a-half years of my life, or potentially fulfilling a pastoral role of some sort in a church, I am a simple barista at a local Starbucks in Gainesville, FL, and a participant in an organic church, which is the reason I moved to Gainesville in the first place.  This is where the Lord has led me and called me to be.

One thing that is really different, on top of that other stuff, is the lack of a celebration of the Lenten season.  Lent has been a part of my experience since I was at least in junior or senior high, when we had our foreheads marked with a cross of ash.  Ever since than, every year since whenever that was, this time of year has come around when people would begin considering what they felt God was calling them to give up for Lent.  I have to confess, most years, I could not think of something to give up so I simply would not participate.  Still, it often felt like there was a continual pressure to participate in Lent, even if one did not feel that something in particular needed to be surrendered for forty days.

However, my only connection to Lent this year is with the status updates of my friends on Facebook related to Lent, as well Ash Wednesday when I was surprised by customers coming in with ash crosses which made me realize what day it was.  This reason for lack of a celebration of Lent is my being a part of and participating in organic church life.  The season of Lent simply does not have a significant place in organic church life.  However, I can say confidently that the significance of Lent is continuously embodied in organic church life.  I have discovered that I can say in the same breath that Lent is both not important and incredibly important in organic church life.

Let me explain how I can say this.  The active participation in the Lenten season just simply does not really fall into the seasons of organic church life.  This is not to say that if one person in the church felt the need to celebrate the Lenten season in its proper time in the Christian calendar, that he or she would be ostracized or excluded in any way for doing so.  On the contrary, his or her practice of Lent would be gladly welcomed and others might feel the need to participate as well.  So the practice of Lent is very welcome but is not really practiced within the usual Christian calendar.

However, while Lent does not visibly manifest itself between Ash Wednesday and Easter in organic church life, it fills the very life and practices of organic church.  Nothing other than the Father, Son, and Spirit fill our very beings as we seek that that nothing other than Jesus Christ, the visible manifestation and fullness of the Godhead, be embodied by His bride, His Church, His people.  Since our pursuit is Christ alone, Christ in all and through all, the very practice of Lent, giving up whatever feel the Lord calls us to so that we make seek Him more fully, is our very life.  If the Lord brings something to our attention that is hindering our fellowship with Him, we are called to lay it down.  Sometimes He even simply makes things in our life less important as we go about living without us even realizing it, in order that we might see Him more clearly and seek Him more fully.

It has been interesting seeing Lent from this perspective, instead of the focus on it that I have usually seen during this part of the year.  Even though I am not actually participating in the Lenten season, as many of you, my friends, are, I pray that your Lenten season will be richly blessed and that what is at the heart of Lent will resonate in all your hearts throughout the year, continually unveiling the vastness, riches, and beauty of Christ.

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~ by hardybeefstew on March 25, 2011.

2 Responses to “Lent and Organic Church”

  1. I do not believe that I have ever read something so succinct yet so elegantly put. What an amazingly blessed experience to have.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate them. I am so happy to be a part of what I am experiencing and I happy I can in some way express it to others.

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