Welcome to Lent 2017: "Crucified with Christ"
What is Lent anyway?
Lent is a season of the church calendar year, specifically, it's the 40-day period leading up to Easter. It begins with Ash Wednesday and culminates with the events of Holy Week (including Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter). The word "lent" is simply an Old English word meaning "spring."
Lent is a time specifically set aside for reflection, repentance, fasting, and fixing our eyes on the cross of Christ.
What is this website for?
Over the next seven weeks, we will be posting a reflection every Friday, written by a faculty or staff member here at Randall University. We hope these reflections will aid you in your own experience of Lent. Whether you come from a church tradition steeped in the practice of Lent, or whether this is your first time experiencing what the season is all about, we hope you will return to this place each Friday. Here we invite you to pause, take a few moments to read each reflection, and consider what the Lord may be doing in your own life. Our theme is "Crucified with Christ."
What's So Good about Good Friday?
Reflection written by Julie Curry
33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:33-39)
Why is such an awful day called “good”?
Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23 & John 19 all tell their viewpoint of the events on that Good Friday. The scarlet robe placed over his naked body that had been repeatedly whipped beyond recognition. The crown of thorns shoved onto his head. Being beat and spat upon as he attempted to carry his own cross. The nails secured through his wrists and feet and then the slow suffocation once he was placed upon the cross. He could have stepped down off that cross at any moment but Jesus chose to die. How can any of these actions possibly be linked to the word good?
While many people of that time believed they were making an example of Jesus, he was not an example, he was a substitute. There was separation between God and his people, due to sinful nature, and Jesus recognized this. Jesus agreed to be the bridge connecting his people back to God, but in order for this to happen the ultimate sacrifice needed to be made. God made that ultimate sacrifice when he sent his Son to take up our cross and die for oursins, and Jesus willingly agreed. His sacrifice as an unblemished lamb would pay the price for our eternal salvation.
When we study the New Testament we enjoy reading about the parables and the miracles of Jesus. These stories are full of meaning, happiness, and healing. They fill our hearts with love and joy. It is much more difficult to read or think about the darkness of what happened on Good Friday. The Old Testament foretold of the sacrifice that was to be made, yet the disciples were left feeling defeated and his followers confused. What could possibly be “good” about this day?
Good Friday is good precisely because it is where we encounter the gospel, or good news. Jesus died in our place, paying a debt that we could never pay, and ensuring for us the reality of eternal life. And while he was facing his death, Jesus showed us exactly how to trust and have faith in God’s promise.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother
As a mother I can appreciate the unconditional love that God has for his children. However the sacrifice that God made for each of us, by sending his Son to be the ultimate sacrifice, demonstrates the immensity of a truly unconditional act. Jesus’ mother was standing there watching the horrendous events unfold (John 19:25). As a mother, I cannot fathom the incredible heartbreak that she must have been feeling. But what we are shown, in the midst of this heartache and pain, is how we can trust God beyond all measure and circumstances. With the anguish and despair of life we can feel overwhelmed, but this why Good Friday is so good. Without Good Friday there would be no salvation, and no hope for eternal life with our Lord and Savior.
Julie Curry is in her first year as Director of Elementary Education at Randall. She has worked in education in various roles for over 20 years.
Here are some recommended playlists to enhance your musical experience of Lent:
- Lent Playlist - curated by Kory & Kristen Pence (cont. Christian)
- Lent to Maundy Thursday- Page CXVI (contemporary Christian)
- Lent Worship Songs - curated by Bobby Giles (cont. Christian)
- Exaudiam Eum: Gregorian Chants for Lent & Holy Week - Consortium Vocale (gregorian chants)
- Lent - The Forty Day Journey (simple piano music)