Lenten Reflections Week 1 (Feb 26- March 4)
UPG Lenten Reflections:
I am crucified with Christ
Week 1 (Feb. 27- March 4, 2020)
Our theme verse for meditation and study: Romans 6: 3-4
3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent, a time the church sets aside for us to deepen our faith, strengthen community, and establish a closer connection to God through worship, prayer, Bible reading, giving, self- denial, and service to others.
On Ash Wednesday we are marked with the sign of the cross to remind us of our mortality: “From dust you came and to dust you shall return.” It is a reminder that life is short. We only have so many days allotted us to do what God has called us to do.
With that in mind, our focus will be on dying to the old self, and being raised to a new life… what the Bible calls repentance. Repentance can be understood as: getting back on the right track; changing our life; or turning things around. But, in order to be raised to new life, some of the old must be left behind to die.
To help us reflect on what that might mean for us, each week we will have Bible verses to meditate on, and entire passages to read if you would like a fuller experience. Then at our midweek Lenten service we will discuss the readings and questions posed that apply God’s Word to our personal and communal life.
If you are not able to attend the midweek services, you are encouraged to use these readings and reflections for your own independent study and prayer time.
During your Lenten journey you are also encouraged to read a chapter a day in the Gospel of Mark, the shortest and earliest Gospel, so that you might come to a deeper knowledge and love of Jesus as Lord and come to more fully know God’s will for your life, and our life as Christ’s church. If you want a further challenge, read the book of Romans, where Paul lays out his view of the Gospel as God’s power for salvation for all who believe.
Following are a few of the many verses that speak to the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross. .
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent John 17:3
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for others. 1 John 3:16
By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:14
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians 1:7
Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil. Hebrews 2:14
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
The cross was so central to the Apostle Paul that he said the following:
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I Corinthians 2:2
What is the meaning of the cross for you?
How has that affected who you are and how you live each day?
How has that affected how you function and treat others in our worshipping community?
What are some ways we as a congregation can better communicate this good news through our various ministries?
Are there new ministries we could start that go beyond our walls, to communicate God’s grace, mercy, and love for all, especially to those some might be consider outcasts?