A Mom’s Hope for Lent

My dear sons,

I’ve been following my heart lately. It’s as if something is pushing me along to just go for things. Far too often, my fears drive me to forget about any ideas I might have, or they simply drive me to do things I don’t want to do at all. But lately, it’s as if a force has been encouraging me to just do what I want to do and what I feel is right for me, as well as for you and your dad. It is as if it’s saying, “Nope. No fear. Purpose. Keep moving.”

I sat in church this morning and realized that the “force” to which I am referring, may very well be God (insert humorous Star Wars reference). I listened to the sermon (which was informative as well as inspiring) and took notes feverishly – something, if I’m being honest, I usually don’t do. To prove it to you in case you don’t believe me, here are my notes:

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I was interested in the content of the sermon (about world religions) and was motivated to write these notes down. So, I have decided to share my spiritual journey with you, with the hope of deepening my faith, and maybe yours. This idea comes at the perfect time –- Lent.

Lent begins this coming Wednesday, March 5th, and I am going to take a break from social media and write to you about my spiritual journey through the Lenten season. I will be studying Adam Hamilton’s Final Words and will update each week (although I may post other thoughts unrelated in between).

I am not claiming to be a pastor, deacon, theologian, or even a “strong Christian,” as some people say. I’m just a woman who grew up a Protestant and has experienced God’s love, but who is still making sense of her faith —  all while making it a priority to raise her children to experience God’s love, too. I have no reason to claim any authority here, so I’m just going to be honest – completely honest — in this blog as I travel through Lent.

Well, back to those sermon notes. Here is what I learned today. Our pastor interviewed a local rabbi in his sermon, and I was reminded that the Jewish faith has also been divided into different sects over time, just as the Christian faith has, as well as the Muslim faith. I learned that they, too, are struggling with their identity as Americans and as Jews. They also are trying to compete with the world’s obsession with achievement by focusing on character and spiritual growth.

As a side note, one thing was interesting to me about these (and possibly all) religions:  In many cases, the disagreements within the religions occur because people (We are talking about human beings, here!) tend to fall under one of two categories:  There are those who fight to keep tradition and those who fight for change. I think this is true for all kinds of groups that have formed within the human race. It is a necessary fight, actually, if you really stop to think about it. Or, is it? I find this fascinating and am suddenly reminded of one of my favorite authors, Jonathan Swift, but I’m getting off topic here.

Well, here is something huge that I took away from today’s sermon:  Jesus is our model for how to interact with others of other faiths (and even belief systems within one’s faith – I am adding that last part since that is something with which I struggle).

I needed to be reminded of that. It was a reminder for me to run a self-check when I’m feeling my blood boiling and want to yell, scream, and even spew my thoughts and feelings (not that I ever do it, but I want to) over discrimination for “religious beliefs,” for example. I recognize that I’m often a fighter for change – particularly when it relates to social justice, but I must also recognize that the human resistance to change is very strong, so this fight might take a while. There is a better way to fight against “but that’s the way it’s always been,” and I need to look to Jesus, who modeled it. I’m working on finding my own voice and my own way to change the world around me in a way that is loving and therefore (hopefully) effective.

As one of my junior high teachers used to say, “In my humble, yet accurate opinion…” (wink, wink)

I love you boys so much. I hope that you enjoy my Lenten study blog posts. I know I will enjoy sharing this journey with you.

xo,

Mom

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