Well, I’m back from the men’s retreat and those of us who were able to go had a really great time. I enjoyed having the chance the relax after exams and have fun and worship with men from our meeting.
I’m also looking forward to being back with all of you on Sunday. It sounds like this past Sunday with Seth and Gil went well and for those of you who missed I’ve uploaded the audio of both of them to iTunes (download it here http://bit.ly/fvlmz1).
This week begins our reflections on the season of Lent. We are invited this year to consider the query: "Who is Christ?" There are many ways to take this question and a variety of ways we’ll look at it over the next couple months, but a couple additional queries are:
- who is the Jesus that the many authors of Scripture portray?
- who is the Jesus we encounter in God’s Spirit?
- who is this whom we gather around and worship?
- who has Christ been to you?
Before we get to all that though I simply want us to reflect on the season of Lent and why we might participate in it.
There are a couple texts to consider in this light:
From Mark 9 (the transfiguration):
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
(also read 2 Peter 1:16-21).
Our query for Lent comes from this passage:
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ (Matthew 16)
And here is Margaret Fell voicing a similar query (what canst thou say?) when she heard George Fox preach for the first time:
And so he went on, and said, "That Christ was the Light of the world, and lighteth every man that cometh into the world; and that by this light they might be gathered to God," &c. I stood up in my pew, and wondered at his doctrine, for I had never heard such before. And then he went on, and opened the scriptures, and said, "The scriptures were the prophets’ words, and Christ’s and the apostles’ words, and what, as they spoke, they enjoyed and possessed, and had it from the Lord": and said, "Then what had any to do with the scriptures, but as they came to the Spirit that gave them forth? You will say, ‘Christ saith this, and the apostles say this;’ but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of the Light, and hast thou walked in the Light, and what thou speakest, is it inwardly from God?" &c. This opened me so, that it cut me to the heart; and then I saw clearly we were all wrong. So I sat down in my pew again, and cried bitterly: and I cried in my spirit to the Lord, "We are all thieves; we are all thieves; we have taken the scriptures in words, and know nothing of them in ourselves."
Query: How might reflection on who Christ is and an entrance into the journey of Lent transform us this year?
Also – If you’d like some devotional reading through the Lenten season I highly recommend Christine Sine’s reader she’s put together (there’s a link to it on our website). You might like to know that Christine will be joining us for seminar on the Spirituality of Gardening on May 1st (more info on that later).
May God’s grace and peace be with you this week,