Michael Renza | 27 October 2020
Michael Renza studied Business Entrepreneurship at Palm Beach State College. He hopes to become a small business owner in the future.
Part 7, Baptism and Praising God
Anyways, back to the story! By then Father Suriel Costandi had agreed to answer all my questions about Orthodoxy, even though it took almost a year to figure out how things worked and were done. I’ve been to many churches and said yes on a whim and this time it was as if the Holy Spirit was telling me to sit and watch for now. It didn’t take that long that: by February 2019 I told him it was time; I had seen enough for about almost two years at that point and decided this is my home. Over the course of the year when I had time I would meet with Father Suriel and he would teach me the faith, the major and minor holy days, and how to pray to the saints. The most beautiful part of it all was that I finally felt like I was finding what my heart and soul were after all these years!
All these years as a kid in the Roman Catholic church yearning and appreciating tradition, and my young adult years with the Messianic Jews and reading my Bible from Genesis to Revelation, understanding the ancient Hebrew culture of the Bible and properly understanding it culturally, historically and spiritually! When it came to choosing a saintly name, I knew of a name that always stood out to me and at times wished was my birth name. I chose the name Judah, after the biblical patriarch and the one that Jesus, the Virgin Mary, King David, and King Solomon were members of. The name Judah, in Hebrew, Yehudah, also means to praise God. I could think of no other way to do that and to always inspire me, to also to praise God in the good and in the bad. So, on November 23, 2019 I was baptized into the Coptic Orthodox church and became Michael Judah Renza!
As I wrap up this story of my faith, this really is just a beginning. As I am typing this, I am currently 33 and just reflecting and looking back on this story of mine. It's hard to believe the spiritual journey I’ve had traveling across many churches, congregations, and synagogues to get where I am. To whomever reads this story I leave this bit of encouragement: keep walking even if the ground is solid or shaky, God will NEVER let you fall just as how even Jesus pulled Peter out of the water when he started to doubt and started to sink into the sea. To those who read this, I hope God blesses you as He has blessed me in many chapters of my life and don’t stop walking with God. He won’t lead you astray, I promise.