Lent 2018 : Discover Courage in God’s Promises
The stories through the season of Lent take us on a story arc with God’s people, discovering what God provides for us in the way of boundaries and promises. These stories reveal the heart of God that beats steadfastly with love, but also struggles in relationship with humans who are sinful and limited beings. Binding all the stories together, and launching us into Holy Week is the covenantal relationship God strikes with the people and renews over and over again as circumstances change.
Through our birth and through our baptism, we receive the promises of God. God also invites us to live with our hearts open to a covenant relationship. God’s promises and steadfast love are unconditional. We cannot earn them. We cannot lose them. We can return to them at any time. “God makes this promise in the person of Jesus Christ, particularly in his sufferings and the cross. There on a barren hill outside the holy city of Jerusalem, as far as you could move spiritually from the holiness of God’s temple, God takes on all the work and leaves you to enjoy Christ’s benefits.” (By Heart: Conversations with Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, p. 49)
The covenant is a reciprocal relationship - the give and take of response and responsibility. Here are the actions of Lent: to live as faithful people; to hear the Word and obey it; to act with courage on behalf of the world and all its people. Inevitably we break our part of the covenant. In Lent we examine and confess our failures. We listen for and rely on God’s forgiveness. We die with Christ who suffers on the cross for our sake. This is where the return of Lent always takes us: “We are to fear, love and trust God above all things.” (Explanation of the First Commandment)
God’s heart becomes our heart; Christ’s courage becomes our courage; the wholeness of the Spirit of Healing encompasses our story, too.
February 21, February 28, March 7, 14, 21
- LENT MIDWEEK ACTIVITIES:
March 25 - Palm/Passion Sunday, 8:15am and 10:45am
March 29 - Maundy Thursday, 7:00pm
March 30 - Good Friday, 7:00pm
April 1 - Easter Sunday, 6:00am, 8:15am and 10:45am
THEMES FOR LENT
February 18 - Lent 1B - Discovering God’s Commitment to Creation
God does not abandon God’s Beloved, whether wandering in the wilderness, or trying to stay afloat in the floods. There will be temptation daily to distrust this God of steadfast love. Believe it or not, God is in and with this creation now and for always. That’s a promise!
February 25 - Lent 2B - Covering the Distance as We Walk with God
Jesus sets the pace as we walk with God in this covenant relationship. There are many miles to cover; to endure the distance, we need the strength of his commitment to see us through. Only he knows how to truly fear, love, and trust God’s promises across all generations. We can follow and learn.
March 4 - Lent 3B - Uncovering the Truth of God’s Covenant Word
God speaks a word - sometimes called 10 Words or Ten Commandments! - that put boundaries around God’s beloved people. We chafe and fight and squirm our way around those boundaries, but God means them for the safety and well-being of the community. Jesus knows that no matter how few or many rules we have, we will always break one - “no other gods”. He makes a clean sweep of the house, and sets us right on the third day.
March 11 - Lent 4B - Looking Up for Recovery and Life
God is our relentless healer. When sin and death overwhelm us - our lives, our churches, our world - God raises up a healing sign. Behold - Christ on the cross! His death makes a difference, pouring out grace and healing from God’s own broken heart. Let us dare to shine that light of truth and hope into the places where sickness still threatens God’s beloved ones.
March 18 - Lent 5B - Reading the Cover Letter of Love
Love letters speak a language of intimacy and hopefulness, revealing what binds hearts together. God takes up that language in the constant search to communicate grace, mercy, and peace to God’s beloved people. Can we read that letter without breaking? Do we dare trust God’s declaration of love that will carry us through death and into eternity? No one knows us better, or can keep promises like Jesus who lays down his own life willingly.