Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Church Year

Our Church Year has come to its conclusion. As Peter said in his first sermon at Pentecost, the Promise is to you and to your children. This is that which the prophets foretold. The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost was the fulfillment of the promises of God to be with His people and to dwell with them always.
         Our Church year begins with Advent as look forward to the arrival of the Messiah. It moves to Christmas where we receive the baby King and rejoice with the angels, the shepherds.
At Epiphany, we see the promise that the gospel of Jesus would spread to the ends of the Earth as distant wise men come to seek Jesus.
As a Protestant, I am not quite sure what to do with Lent. Certainly, we must come to grip with our sins and failings. These lead us to the need of the cross. But the entire Church Year is somewhat of a glorious farce for us. We are remembering the Lord's Birth, Life, Death, Resurrection, Ascension and Coming with Power. It is good for us to remember. But we do not do this to afflict ourselves but rather to lead us to Salvation through the Affliction of Christ.
The Church has got this right even in Lent as Sundays are not in Lent but glorious days of rest and re-creation. My concern is that we do not make Lent an entire Penitential Season. Seems like too much Pennance and Affliction for the saints. Let us Repent and be done with it. Stand up and worship the Lord. Come to Worship, even in Lent, free from the flagellations of conscience. 
Maybe we need to develop Lent to more fully remember the Life of Jesus, celebrating many of the high and low moments of His life before the cross?
On Good Friday, we remember the death of Jesus and are reminded that it was good that one man should die for the people. And now we know that it was the last death, Jesus who died once for all.
On Easter, we see that death could not hold Him and that though we were dead in our trespasses and sins, we have been raised to new life in Jesus Christ.
At Ascension, we are reminded that the Lord Jesus is exalted to the right hand of the Father, ruling over Heaven and Earth until all His enemies are subdued beneath His feet. We are also exalted with Him and are His agents on the Earth to disciple the nations.

And now we come to Pentecost, the culmination of this year of Promise. Jesus has sent His Spirit to empower His Church to accomplish His work on the Earth. The disciples are transformed by the Spirit of Power to preach, teach and live in the power of the Holy Spirit. The life of the Spirit in Jesus is the Church full of the glory of the Lord. This is the greatest glory until the Final Resurrection when sin and death are completely defeated and we live with Jesus in Resurrected bodies forever.

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