“Are you Catholic or Protestant?”
The little old woman sitting at my corner booth had asked
Then I was chatting with a fellow Christian friend and he was trying to route me to his recent blog post through Facebook! I was confused, had he not read my earlier blog on Lent? With a quick reply I stated “It’s still lent”. His reply was that he wasn’t catholic. Ugh, not again I thought to myself. Why is society so quick to judge a persons spiritual rituals on the denomination of a church rather than on their personal relationship with God. Where is a Christian individuality? Maybe that is a good topic for yet another blog. Back to Lent, Easter and Pentecost. I do not celebrate Lent because of a certain denomination I belong too. I honor Lent because of my own personal relationship with Christ. It’s an individual commitment I began making in 2011. Let me explain why. On Wednesday March 9, 2011; I didn’t attend any church, I did not get a cross of ashes made on my forehead. I had never observed a season of Lent in my life. I knew what Lent was, however I was never in a denomination in which observed the Lent season. My Pastor at the time did however encourage us to take time during this season and fast for 40 days. This encouragement was the beginning of breaking down the denomination barrier for me.Lent season is an opportunity to look deeply at your spiritual life. To remember the creator of humanity. To reflect on your sin and repent.I began petitioning God to reveal what He wanted me to Fast and began reading 40 day devotion. Days later it became evident I would not be completing that particular devotion. God’s plan led me to give up my freedom. Lent season to the day of Pentecost has such a parallel to that particular season in my life, I am sure it was no coincidence. All 40 days I got the opportunity to be in a controlled environment which gave me more time for daily devotion without an increase of worrying about societal influences. I may not have been free in a worldly sense but I was slowly inching my way to freedom in a spiritual sense.We recieved spiritual feedings in jail but they were stagnant. You stood at the gate and only a certain amount of inmates from each block could attend. Sometimes I wouldn’t even stand in line knowing my belly was full and there were lost souls craving the food . On April 17, 2011 I was blessed to be one of the few to be selected to go to the Palm Sunday church service. I remember being spoken to about Palm Sunday and being guided on how to prepare our hearts for Easter. On Easter, God revealed His desire for me to do a NO TALK fast. I was to remain silent from sun up to sun down. I chose to be obedient . I prayed , meditated , and read God’s word all day long. I took a piece of bread and my koolaid from lunch so I could engage in private Communion with God. I took communion in remembrance of what Jesus had done for us on Easter Sunday. At that point I was halfway done with my sentence. In the following week inmates were being released due to overcrowding. I prayed my name would be pulled in the lottery. God had other plans. I had to serve out the sentence God had imposed not the one society had imposed. A few days after my release I would discover the significance. June 5, 2011 was Ascension Day. This date is not celebrated by Christians in our western society but is very crucial in the validity of Jesus Christ as our savior. It was the day Jesus ascended into heaven. Two days later my sentence would be completed and I would be free. Lent, Easter, and the Ascension mimic my season of incarceration and release. Four days later the holy spirit would move about my soul as it did on the day of Pentecost. This was the beginning of a spiritual awakening to my soul. It was a personal closeness with God that brought about a new improved me. Do you believe in coincidences or do you believe God had a plan all along. Jesus may have ascended to heaven over 2000 years ago but the remembrance of Jesus ascending in 2011 sparked a light for me to go and fulfill the great commission.