“If you are strong enough to carry bricks from the past, you are strong enough to build a future”.
It was those wise words that I began this 31st Birthday of mine, waking up to all the encouraging and blessing posts on my Facebook.
Considering that I had committed to participating in the Catholic tradition of Lent a couple weeks ago, it’s safe to say that this has been a thought-provoking couple weeks leading up to this year’s birthday anniversary. In keeping with using Lent as a way to foster a more committed work with Christ, I am incorporating my birthday in the process.
Those of you that have the burden of knowing me personally, (I hope you were able to see the sarcasm in that statement), know that I am a pretty contemplative guy.
Contemplative means to be something who is involved or expresses prolonged though, usually spent I reflection, meditation, and prayer. Don’t get me started on my obsession with Monasticism, both old and new traditions 🙂 I personally believe this is a privileged detail in my life, thanks to the indwelling the the Holy Spirit.
It is this contemplation that continually motivates me to build a future life and view of myself that is God-glorifying, emanates love for others, and enables me to truly be a man I can be proud of. I firmly believe in utilizing holidays, traditions, etc to build personal “spiritual disciplines – which Lent and birthdays both emphasize.
Lent is about understanding and growing in the grace and knowledge of God (true to the Scripture, 2 Peter 3:18). In keeping with Lent, I had comittited to reading through an Anglican book for Lent called “The Reconciling Christ” which states:
“In thinking of God and our relationship to Him, the first thing that confronts every man is the problem of self, ….Each one has this self, yet known of us asked for it and certainly no one shall deprive us of it though most of our unhappiness and failures are caused by it….for everything that makes men great partakes in discipline.”
It was pondering that chapter that these words were in that I began an amazing self-reflection. As aspect of growing in the grace and knowledge of God, is truly coming to grips with the effect of God’s forgiveness. Through grace God is giving us the opportunity to transcend the past we may feel bound by – our failures, our failures upon failures, and the continuing process of sin). Yet grace says, “Yes, you will fail, but here is a clean slate, white as snow, try again…with no baggage”.
And guess what, its offered again and again.
All I can do at this point is share with you my personal response to such an amazing reflection…..Coming to terms with such an “amazing grace”, I have accepted the complete forgiveness for my wrongs, and in doing so, ask to be held accountable to being a man who displays the love of Christ, a spirit of self-sacrifice, and always extending a radical grace/ forgivess to others. I strive to be a man who will build a future both I, my loved ones, and those around me will be blessed by, not allowing past failures to be true to His image to hinder that progress.
I thank all of you who have served in many ways to encourage my growth, literally, could not have done it without you. That alone makes my birthday – HAPPY.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Michael Miano