Lent: Rejoicing in God’s Redemptive Story
We typically set aside the six Sundays leading up to Good Friday and Easter for intentional reflection, confession, and worship as a church family. In more ways than one, it is a unique opportunity to deepen our thoughts around the person and work of Jesus, and recall the many things that we’ve been saved from and to, through the power of his death and resurrection.
LITURGY AND WORSHIP
We’ll be changing up our flow of gathering a bit and take the first few minutes to reflect on the overarching story of God’s redemption of His people. One of the unique perspectives we’ll be weaving through these reflections is the contrast of light and darkness throughout Scripture. Here’s a quick summary of the weeks ahead, so you can be praying and preparing more specifically for worship with the church through this season of Lent:
Week #1 Creation (3/5) – God’s glory and perfection in creation
Week #2 Darkness (3/12) – Sin’s corruption and deception
Week #3 Intervention (3/19) – God’s provision and direction
Week #4 Presence (3/26) – God’s dwelling among his people
Week #5 Foreshadow (4/4) – God’s promise of a Redeemer
Week #6 Incarnation (4/9) – God’s entrance and culmination
We’ll also be walking through multiple scriptures and songs throughout the gatherings that weave together these themes of light/darkness, God’s redemptive story, and our current sermon series in Sermon on the Mount. All of these liturgical elements are intended to be experienced as a journey, not in isolation from one another. I’d encourage all of us to come early to the gatherings, so we can experience the fullness of what God has in store for us together during Lent.
WATCH AND PRAY
There are many good ways that we can prepare ourselves to worship in this season. I just want to highlight two particular postures of worship from Jesus’ words to his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion (Matthew 26:38-41) that I think would be fitting for framing this season for us:
This is a season of expectation and watching. In much the same way that Jesus was instructing his disciples, we would do well to be alert to what God is doing, what He is revealing, what He is wanting to show us through this season of reflection. This is both an attentiveness to the truths He’s bringing to the forefront, as well as an alertness to the state of our own souls. Not growing drowsy or distracted. But rather remaining focused and attentive, spiritually-minded and awake.
Practically speaking, as I said before, we’ll be kicking off the Lent reflections at the start of each gathering, so I’d encourage us all to come early, settle into your seat, give yourself some margin to be prayerful and spiritually ready before we begin to worship together. It’s easy to come in rushed and anxious and distracted. Do yourself a favor, and come early to give yourself time to prepare your heart for worship. You won’t regret it.
This is also a season of communing with God. Being in regular, intimate relationship with our Creator. It’s not about self-piety, self-pity, or self-performance. It’s about the Savior. This is a time when we come humbly before the Creator, relinquishing our self-independence, relishing the Redeemer, and rejoicing in all that God is and has done for us in Christ! Let’s look upward more than inward this Lent season, because Jesus is alive and his grace is available to all!
And practically, as we have moments of corporate confession together, periods of silence, and space for reflection in our gatherings – use that time to draw near to the One who hears. He loves to hear the earnest prayers of His people. If you sense hardness of heart, ask him to warm you with his grace. If you feel alone, ask him to cover you with his love and fatherly embrace. Wherever you are, cry out to him this Lent season, confessing sin and clinging to Jesus. He will meet us.
Love you all and praying that Jesus would use this season to give us much-needed space to deepen our trust in Him and experience His satisfying love in Christ. See you Sunday!
The tomb is empty!