The season of Lent and Easter is a journey rather than a single event. It is a journey that takes us from Ash Wednesday through to Passion, or Palm, Sunday and Holy Week to the cross on Good Friday and to the joyous discovery that the tomb is empty and that Christ is risen on Easter Day.
There are then 50 days of Easter that lead us to Pentecost. (In this Lent/Easter course we cover from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday). It is a journey that takes us through the deep waters of life and death to new resurrection life and it is good to have travelling companions on such a journey. Join us for this portion of your journey. This course is designed to be used by worship leaders and by individuals wanting to journey with the Christ and his companions on this life through death into new life experience.
Each week of Lent we will daily reflect on one of the Revised Common Lectionary readings for the coming Sunday building to an integrated reflection of the theme of that week. There is also an outline for a group discussion included for use by those communities studying together. This will help us engage deeply in the wisdom and life changing power of this journey and help worship leaders be ready for leading others on the journey while also having their own spiritual encounter. (Indeed the materials will be available a few weeks earlier than the actual dates so that leaders can feel confident in their roles and still have their own deep experience of journey by travelling a week or two ahead of others.) If you would like to get a flavour for how I work with the seasons of the church please feel free to look at the Sample material that was used in Advent.
On Ash Wednesday we reflect on our mortality. This is both humbling but also encouraging as we contemplate that we share the mortal experience with the one who took on human flesh and forever enlivened us with his divinity which graces our struggles and yearnings.
We companion Jesus into the wilderness where we experience temptation, testing and initiation into the wisdom and strengths that inform his life’s work and will carry him into his ultimate testing and trial. It is also an invitation for us to revisit what underpins our life.
We explore what it means to be born again, to come to know our true identity in relation to our relationship with the divine. (There will be a single reflection on the Transfiguration for those who follow the alternate readings for Lent Two).
We come to the living water through readings and reflections that drench our dry places with God given life.
We are challenged to see life and ourselves as God sees and then to look outward with the same loving and perceiving gaze.
We foretaste resurrection in the wonderful stories of the dry bones being given new life and the resurrection of Lazarus.
We companion Jesus into the holy city and his last tumultuous days and reflect on our hopes and false hopes that are aroused by these events.
Week Seven: Holy Week
We then mark the days of Holy Week and companion our Beloved Lord through adulation, the Passover, abandonment and betrayal, and the trauma of the trial and the cross and with his shattered and scattered disciples we wait for the life giving news that he is risen.
Even though we know how the story unfolds and ends it is a story best lived and deeply reflected on for it is not only the story of what Jesus did for us but it is the story of our soul’s journey and when we travel it deeply we are restored and recreated. Year by year, season by season, we are refined and remade by the story of how life comes out of death. It is the story of long ago and it is the story of us now. It is forever contemporary and life giving.