Happy First Sunday of Lent and Happy March! Here’s a story of a recent grain-free church goer… AKA me, today. 😂
I was that gal today who requested a gluten free host at communion. A part of me shamed myself, “OMG, maybe I AM a Karen!” A part of me thought, “Well, they offer it!”
I knelt before the altar and mostly mouthed, somewhat sheepishly, “gluten-free”, to my awesome priest and rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Chuck, who replied, “Ack, we are out up here (the early AM service is held in the smaller chapel) but come to main altar after service!”
I gave him a smile and thought, “I will do no such thing!” I hate putting people out. Inconveniencing others gives me a super uncomfortable feeling. But Chuck made a beeline for me after service and almost literally pulled me to the main altar. He was thrilled to find and give me a gluten-free consecrated host. And then I realized, oftentimes when we think we are inconveniencing others, we may be robbing them of their desire to give and serve. Giving and receiving is one of the best real life examples of yin and yang, you can not have and be one without the other.
This has always been a struggle for me but I’m learning how to receive gracefully and allow others to experience the joy of giving! I’ve had so many life experiences where I’m given gifts as a method of control and domination. So needless to say, it’s been a challenge for me to be open and trust others and I suppose, trusting in God or even taking that leap of faith that there even exists a God!
Anyway…the gluten free host is brown and way crunchier! And me being me thought, “I’m having me some brown Jesus today!” 🤣😂🤣💀 It’s amazing I don’t actually just get struck down by lighting in Church and get immediately thrown before Satan and the gates of hell. Hahaha. But that’s the ole Catholic guilt and shame talking.
Believing is a choice. Gluten/grain free is a choice. Sometimes we are persecuted for our choices. There are those who will do their best or even force you to renounce your faith and your choices, just as the early Christians were subjected to imprisonment and torture. And this, my friends, is where the practice of asceticism began!
I never knew why we fasted during Lent. Or gave other stuff up or didn’t eat meat on Fridays. As Catholics, we just did it. So when I learned the history of the early persecuted Christians today, it kinda blew my mind and yet another puzzle piece was found. The early Christians lived with the reality that they may be captured, tortured, imprisoned for their belief in Jesus. So they practiced the possible torture on themselves to be prepared for the worst. They wanted to be as strong as they could be so that nothing could BREAK their faith! This is how devoted they were.
We’ve grown soft with our creature comforts. We don’t know how to embrace discomfort. The softer you get, the weaker you are. And most important, you are robbed of your conviction in yourself. You are at the whim of your prisoners, whatever and whoever that may be.
Perhaps this Lenten season, you could try making your life a little bit more uncomfortable with the intention of strengthening your mind, body, and faith.