This morning we started off with an incredible sunrise service, of course just at the time the sun came up over the trees. It really was something to see. God’s creation displayed for all to see while we worship our risen Savior. That is my photo of the day today (and my P365 photo as well [Day 132]), looking right into the sunrise, glorious. I took a bunch of shots this morning, but I love the shot of Deborah and Bart with the sunrise in the background, and still a little cool for an outside service.
Today of course is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are several accounts on the resurrection in Scripture, the classic Synoptic Gospels account like Matthew 28 and Luke 24, (see Why do You Seek the Living Among the Dead? but in John 20, Jesus makes two statements that I find really amazing. The first, in John 20:16, he calls Mary, by name, showing that after the resurrection, Jesus knows us, by name. The second is when Jesus was talking to Thomas and he says in John 20:29 “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Both of those statements show God’s care for those of us who are celebrating the resurrection in 2012.
It’s already that time of year, Lent is here. Today is Ash Wednesday (see also history), marking the beginning of the season of Lent, which then takes us to the Passion and into Easter. There are many things our church does that I really like and producing a Lenten Reader for the past few years is one of them. It is such a great tool, especially how we use it in our particular church, where it ties each day of the week to the message being taught on Sunday.
If your church doesn’t put out a Lenten Reader there are plenty of other options, YouVersion has two great Lenten Reader plans, Lent For Everyone and 40 Days of Lent. A Lenten reader is more than just a daily devotional, it is intended to be a meditation, a call, to pull us out of our daily routine and refocus our lives back to Christ and His sacrifice. Lent is more than a time of self-denial, it is a time we can use to get back to the spiritual disciplines like worship, confession, meditation, fasting, study, and prayer.
In our culture of busyness to excess, these disciplines become the most expendable. When time is short, these are either the first to go, or denied their proper place at all, and a Lenten Reader is a great way to pull ourselves back into the fold. Our American culture seems to have no problem celebrating the over indulgence of Fat-Tuesday, (see a great post by Beeson titled, Fat Tuesday And We’re Running Out of Options) but there is rarely a mention of the ashes of repentance on Wednesday. Ultimately, even though the world may not take notice, we do, and we look through this season of Lent, and the next 47 days, to celebrating the greatest event even known to history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.