Friday, February 27, 2009

Entering Lent

This Wednesday we entered Lent. Lent is a season of listening for Jesus calling us to follow him, to deny ourselves and take up our crosses. A the bottom, Lent only makes sense as a time to get ready for the celebration of the Resurrection at Easter. But in between us and Jesus' victory over death is the road to Jerusalem, to rejection, at the end of which stands a lonely cross. That is the cross we need to take up.

The Five O'Clock Community is going to spend some time in the coming six weeks asking how Jesus is asking us to go with him to the cross. How can we become more faithful disciples? Lent began as a time to get ready for baptism. In the earliest days, the church made its practice to baptize people on Easter, highlighting the fact that by going down into the water we are dying with Jesus and that when we are raised out of the water we are raised into his resurrection life. Being raised into Jesus' life means a lot more than just a hope for a happy place to go when we die. Living in Jesus' life means living in the way Jesus lived, carrying out our lives as his disciples.

The church has often taken Lent as a time for fasting and repentance. This originated in the forty day period before baptism when people would consider the new way they were committing to live and the old way of living they were leaving behind. We take this period of fasting and repentance as a time to speak honestly to God about the ways in which we have failed in the last year to follow Jesus, to go where he goes. And in the leanness of soul, the singleness of purpose that the season brings with it, we pray again for God to enable to follow  his Son.

Below are some helpful resources for Lent. I will post more as I find more.

The first is Christine Sine's Lenten study A Journey Into Wholeness.  The study is available for download, but there is a suggested donation of $5. You can find it and other resources on her blog Check out some of her other posts for some other great resources for Lent.

The second is "Fasting with Jesus, Struggling with the Devil", an article by Mark Van Steenwyk posted on Jesus Manifesto that explores what our repentance during Lent is all about. Again, there's a lot more good resources on the site (like Mark's update about his "Facebook Fast" and articles by Jacque Elull).

1 comment:

  1. Hey Josh, our minister in NYC (who has now moved to Sydney) has also done a lenten study on the passion narratives in Mark. I always appreciated his ability to write solid bible studies, so you might check it out:

    Love and Blessings to you and your dear wife!


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