Over the next seven weeks, we will be posting a reflection every Friday, written by a faculty or staff member, or student, here at Randall. We hope these reflections will aid you in your own experience of the Lenten season.
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 the "Seven Last Words." Most of us have read and heard Christ’s words from the cross many times. This series is an invitation to hear these words on a deeper level. Throughout this Lenten season, we will see up close and personal the horror and agony of the cross. We will come face to face with the stark realities of sin and death. But we will also witness the death of death and the resurrected life that follows – not only for Jesus, but for all who choose to walk in His way.
Thanks for joining us on this journey!
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 are the "Seven Last Words"?
The "Seven Last Words from the Cross" refer to the final statements or "words" which Jesus said from the cross. We generally attribute extra significance to final words one speaks before his/her death, and that is certainly the case here. These "words," which we will unpack over the coming weeks, are:
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
“Woman, behold, your son! . . . Behold, your mother!” (John 19:26-27)
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34)
“I thirst.” (John 19:28)
“It is finished.” (John 19:30)
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46)
Resources for Lent
We hope the following resources will serve to enhance your walk with Christ this Lenten season.
Daily Lenten Readings:
Lent Playlists on Spotify
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)
The Seventh Word
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.
When I read this passage, I’m reminded of how much Jesus went through to secure my salvation. I also see how much he trusted his Father. It isn’t that he never questioned, because there was a time in the Garden when he did and he asked God to take this away from Him; but in the end He trusted the Father’s plan and walked through it even though it was hard. God never promised an easy path, but He did promise He would be with us. Consider the result of Jesus’ faithfulness even to the very end…
During his time on earth the name of Jesus had been spreading like crazy! Quickly the religious leaders of the day felt threatened and had sought to put Jesus to death because he professed to be the Son of God (which was considered blasphemous by the leaders). They didn’t understand Jesus’ message—for centuries they had been waiting for the Messiah to come, yet when he did, they missed it.
They mistakenly thought that his death would put an end to all this uproar and would finally secure their positions as leaders. But something else happened. As Jesus, hanging on the cross, breathed his very last breath, the sun’s light failed, the curtain of the sanctuary was torn down the middle, and Jesus cried out, “Father, into Your hands I entrust my Spirit.”
However, this wasn’t the end. Through his suffering on the cross, Jesus removed the separation between God and man. Our first clue of what was yet to come is actually in verse 47, “When the centurion saw what happened, he began to glorify God.” Even in death people came to know Christ! All of this was even before the resurrection and before Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father. What a powerful message, what a wonderful Savior!!! The course of the world is forever changed through the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.
When was the last time you trusted the Father and followed His plan, even though it was hard? You never know what impact your faithfulness to God’s plan might have on another person, community, or even the world. But this we know for sure—just as the world was changed by Jesus’ presence, so your world will also be changed when you put your trust in Christ. Are you ready for the greatest adventure?
Evan Aldridge, Worship and Music Studies Faculty, Admissions/Financial Aid Counselor, Randall University