As Christians we are followers of the One who lived, died and rose again. Lent is the season of the year where our attention is drawn to the death – the cross. When Jesus “turns his face to Jerusalem” he is making a willing and conscious decision to live the ways of God even as they would result in crucifixion. For us Standing at the Cross means both that we follow one who was not distracted or destroyed by oppressive powers, even the fear of death, and that we are willing to follow this Christ wherever we are led. The word, “standing,” is not meant defensively or desperately such as “make a last stand” but rather to be a sense of place or identity such as “being in” or “take strength from.”
Standing in the Word
All flesh in like grass and blows away but the Word of the Lord stands forever (Isaiah) leads to Ash Wednesday’s “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” Standing in the Word is a confidence in the promises of God’s presence. God said to Noah (Gen 9), I establish my covenant and this is a sign… (I give you my word).” In the baptism of Jesus a word (and sign) was given to indicate, This is my beloved Son…
2/14/18: Ash Wednesday 7:00
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:3; John 6:30-35; Deuteronomy 8:1-3; Colossians 3:16-17
Mark 1:9-15; Genesis 9:8-17
Standing in Prayer
Standing in Prayer reminds us of the relationship already established with God in Christ. Peter is so confident in his relationship with Christ that he rebukes (begs) Jesus not to be serious about impending suffering and death. When Jesus affirms those who lose their life for his sake we can wonder, “How do we ‘lose our life’ through honest prayer?” In Gen 17 God makes another covenant (speaks a word one can count on) to Abram. Abram laughs. What freedom we have in prayer. God puts up with us and sets us straight.
2 Corinthians 1:20; Philippians 4:5-7
Mark 8:31-38; Genesis 17:1-7, 15-21
Standing in Promise
Standing in Promise continues the message that our position, our self-image, our reassurance is shaped by the promises of God. After Jesus was raised from the dead the disciples remembered what he had spoken – that the temple would be raised in three days. Jesus promised that the new life the followers were experiencing wouldn’t end. The ten commandments are read on this day also and it is important to remember these “laws” were really promises of how people of faith would act with one another.
John 13:31-35; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Jeremiah 31:31-34; *1 Cor 1:1825)
John 2:13-22; Exodus 20:1-17
Standing Unafraid includes the OT reading of lawlessness ending in the punishment of death by poisonous serpent unless they looked up to the bronze serpent hanging on a pole. In God’s love the Son of Man is lifted up so that non need perish. We can stand fearless in the midst of whatever life brings – whether as a result of our sin or simply our human experience.
John 8:48-59; 2 Timothy 4:16-18; Joshua 1:6-9; *Ephesians 2:1-10
John 3:14-21; Numbers 21:4-9; (Ephesians 2:1-10)
Standing in Suffering
Standing in Suffering highlights the reality of human suffering. As people of faith we are not “saved” from difficulty. Our “saving” is a matter of being able to stand by being held up with God’s strength in Christ. Jesus chose not to pray, “Save me from this hour,” and instead chose to continue the path that led to even greater suffering. We are followers of this suffering servant. We are not spared from suffering but are given the strength to endure.
Matthew 26:46-56; 1 Peter 2:21-25; Psalm 69:20-21, 29; *Hebrews 5:5-10
John 12:20-33; Isaiah 53:1-12
Standing in Delusion
Palm Sunday seems like a highly emotional celebration, a victorious moment. But within a few days Jesus is betrayed and arrested. As Holy Week begins it seems we are Standing in Delusion especially if we rush to Easter. First there is turmoil and despair. We can’t forget to let things be in the hands of God even if they don’t fit our idea of a powerful God.
Matthew 26:59-68; Psalm 2:1-6
3/25/18: Palm Sunday
Zechariah 9:9-10; Mark 11:1-10; Philippians 2:5-8; Mark 14:43-52
Standing in Turmoil
So many things happened with Jesus and the disciples on that evening we call Maundy Thursday that we can’t explore them all in one hour of worship. Even if we were to read all the Bible stories of that night we would be without a clear picture and certainly not at all sure about the meaning of events. Throughout the happenings we would be Standing in Turmoil. After a nice meal Jesus speaks of body and blood. All are together but Judas is singled out (almost kicked out) and later causes havoc. Jesus offers a cleansing and some refuse. Disciples can’t even stay awake to pray. The beloved teacher is arrested (after the sign of a kiss). Ears are cut off (and healed). At a warming fire Peter fearfully lies. And more. Can we recognize any similar turmoil in our own lives, at this time, in this moment?
3/29/18: Maundy Thursday
Psalm 43:1-5; Exodus 12:1-14; Luke 22:14-20; John 13:1-17; Mark 14:26-52
Standing in Despair
lets us – for just a brief moment – explore hopelessness. Either Jesus works hope or he doesn’t.
3/30/18: Good Friday
Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25; Romans 5:6-11; Mark 14:53-15:47
Standing in Wonder
After the hopelessness of Good Friday (why – ever has this night been called “good”?), an empty tomb invites us to wonder. First to wonder if it could really be that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, having actually conquered death and fear. And second, to wonder with a sense of awe and joy that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead we are set free from our own death and fear of such. Indeed it is wonder-full that we say, “Alleluia! Christ is risen.”
4/1/18: Easter Sunday
Psalm 118:22-24; Hosea 6:1-3; Mark 16:1-8; John 20:1-18