At the Cross

Lenten Wednesday Worship

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Socrates, an ancient Greek philosopher, once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”  How about you? When is the last time you stepped back and examined your life – how you are living and, perhaps more important, what or who you are living for?

For millennia, Christians have used the 40 days before Easter (not counting the Sundays) as a time of reflection, repentance, and growth, to prepare anew to celebrate - and live in - the Easter victory of Jesus through His cross and resurrection from the dead!  We intentionally take time on these 6 Wednesdays before Easter to slow down, admit our brokenness, and turn away from how we have embraced and lived in this brokenness in our lives and in the relationships that make up our lives. By God’s grace, we take time to turn our eyes on the cross and what this means for us. And in all of this we strive to remember – and live in – the reality that God is with us, He became one of us, He is not far away from us, but rather He continues to step into our world and our lives to lift us up out of our brokenness and to empower us to live in His victory! We take time to examine our hearts and our lives….and to humbly receive anew by faith the life we were meant to have –and to live in – in Jesus! Beginning with Ash Wednesday, we do this by focusing  on the thoughts and lives of those who were “At the Cross,” seeing ourselves reflected in their lives as they come face to face with Jesus.

Ash Wednesday – Wednesday, March 1st     “Barabbas: ‘This Changes Everything’” 

Have you ever seen one of those pictures where if you look at it one way you see one thing and if you look at it another way you see something else? Tonight, even as we begin by remembering our brokenness and sin with ashes, we focus on the “picture” completely changing for Barabbas….and also for us… in the midst of our brokenness. What will this mean as we go forward?

Wednesday, March 8th         “A Face in the Crowd”

Have you ever wanted to be “anonymous?” Perhaps you hated to get called on in class…and not because you might not know the answer, but just because you wanted to be “no one” – invisible, so to speak, so that nothing and no one would have a claim on you. Or perhaps you just wanted to go in to work, do your job, but not have anyone realize you exist.  Nameless. Faceless. Invisible. When did you want to be simply, “a face in the crowd?” Today we meet a “face in the crowd” at the cross. Funny thing is, Jesus doesn’t seem to “let it go.”

 

Wednesday, March 15th      “Peter: ‘Rock or Quicksand?’”

Each of us pictures ourselves in an idea of who we are...our self-identity….and we try instinctively to live within this self-identity. We try to live as who we conceive ourselves to be.  And this is good because most of us would like to think we are super heroes as opposed to super villians. We have expectations of ourselves driven by our self-identity. Who do you think you are? Have you ever disappointed yourself? What did you do? What happened? How did you feel? Did it perhaps shake up your self-identity? Tonight, we look at these things under the cross.

 

Wednesday, March 22nd     “Simon of Cyrene: ‘Drenched in His Blood’”

Have you heard the stories of someone being robbed or shot or beat up or even raped with lots of people around hearing something happening….but no one wanted to get involved? When we hear these things we instinctively recoil at the injustice and heartlessness of those who did nothing. How dare they!.. But when was the last time you chose to do nothing when you could have done something? Where, in fact, is this even a mindset or a lifestyle for us? And how can we possibly get it straightened out so we can change once and for all?

 

Wednesday, March 29th         “Mary Magdalene: ‘Free’”

Do you remember the film, Braveheart? It focused on a real historical figure that fought and died for freedom for Scotland against the English. In the final scene, he is suffering a horrible execution and, as the cameras pan out away from the awful scene, he cries out, Freedom!!! What “demons” do you have that tend to rob you of freedom? Tonight, we focus on a woman whom Jesus set free!..and how she lived in that freedom….and how we can as well.

 

Wednesday, April 5th          “Joseph of Arimathea: ‘Reboot’”

Reboot. It’s what the computer does once in a while – right? It’s like a death and resurrection. And it’s not just with computers. My cell phone was acting crazy the other day. I asked my electronically astute son, James, what to do…and he said to turn it off and then on. Death…and resurrection. It’s kind of like when the TV doesn’t work or when the copier in the office goes wacko and when everything else fails, we turn it off and on and presto! It works! A death and resurrection. A new beginning. Today, we focus on Joseph and his “reboot.” Where do you need one?