You Will Not Abandon MeDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
You will show me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
During a college choir rehearsal, I noticed a friend with a dark smudge on her forehead. I puzzled over it, thinking that maybe she had been the victim of a dormitory prank. Then, she remarked to one of our other friends that she had been to an Ash Wednesday service at her church and would be giving up soft drinks until Easter Sunday.
That was my first introduction to Lent. I had been a Christian since the age of seven, but I didn’t grow up in a church which observed Lent, Advent, or Epiphany. However, I was encouraged by my friend’s devotion, strange though it seemed.
Years later, as a young mom, I suffered from depression and anxiety. During that time, a church member invited me to participate in a weekend retreat. The weekend was filled with music, testimonies, and several observances of Holy Communion. God used that time to begin a deep healing in my life and to show me I am never alone. He also opened my eyes to the beauty and mystery in both Eucharist and the fellowship of believers. Following that retreat, I visited other Bible-centered denominations and types of services, and I discovered the richness of liturgy and tradition.
Since then, I’ve settled back into the denomination of my youth. I’ve learned that just as there is no perfect person, there is no perfect church. However, I haven’t forgotten the lessons I learned by visiting other places. As Psalm 16 says, He has faithfully shown me the path of life. By becoming more aware of how other believers live out their faith, I’ve found a fullness of joy I never thought possible.
Learning about and adding in traditions from my fellow Christians has enriched my spiritual life. And someday, in heaven, I look forward to worshipping Jesus, without any of us worrying about which church we belong to. There, the Church, falling at his right hand in praise and gratitude, will give him—and us—pleasure forevermore.
Questions for Reflection: What is your favorite church tradition? Why? How has God used other believers to encourage you in your faith? Think of your path to full belief in—and commitment to—
Jesus Christ. Has God led you in a straight line, a circle, or some other shape?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the fellowship of Christ-believers, all over the world, who worship you
in many different languages, denominations, and time zones. Never let us forget, Lord, that while our methods may be different, we serve the same Jesus. Instead of us fighting and debating, give us the courage and power to stand together and proclaim you as the one true God, who loved us too much to leave us in our sin and who came to earth as a baby so that we could become your children. Amen.
P.S. from Mark: Throughout the season of Lent, the Daily Reflections will focus on knowing Jesus better. They have been written by a talented collection of writers, my associates at Foundations for Laity Renewal. You'll be able to follow this Lenten series through the Daily Reflections.