As we move into February, we will be entering into a unique time of the Christian year, the season of Lent. Lent has traditionally been a time of preparation for the newest members of the Church to understand what it is they believe about Jesus Christ and his ministry. Part of this training would help the new disciples to learn the story about their faith beginning with the creation story and the brokenness of the world. After they understood a need for a savior, the new disciples would then learn how Jesus Christ is this savior. At the end of their training these new disciples would be baptized on Easter morning, celebrating not only their understanding of who Jesus Christ is, but also the salvation that they have found through him. These disciples would then enter into the world to participate in God’s Story by living for God’s kingdom every day!
Over the last several months we have been encountering “The Story” in a very similar way. We have heard about God’s creation and the first sin committed by Adam and Eve. We then learned how God began a plan to save the world, first by showing us that we would not be able to do this ourselves (the story of Noah). God began this plan by calling a man named Abraham to go where God would send him. For his faithfulness, God promised Abraham that his descendants would outnumber the stars in the night sky.
The promise given to Abraham continued through his children, until they found themselves enslaved in Egypt. The people of Israel cried out to God who heard them and sent Moses to confront Pharaoh until he would release them into freedom. For forty years the people of Israel followed God in the wilderness where they learned how to be in covenant relationship with one another and with God. This covenant, also known as the law was to be written on their hearts and taught to their children (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). At the end of these forty years of covenant making, the people of Israel were prepared to enter into the land promised to their ancestor Abraham, and claim it as theirs.
This entry came at a cost. The people soon discovered that they were also part of God’s plan to not just become God’s holy people, but to also cleanse the land from the unholy practices of the people who were there. Unfortunately, the people of Israel came to look more and more like the people who lived in the land before them. Beginning in the time of the Judges, as the people continually found themselves ensnared by pagan worship, and their demand that God give them a king so they could be like the rest of the world, the people of Israel kept breaking their covenant with God. However, God never forgot God’s promise to redeem the world!
Over the last month, we have learned about the destruction of Israel, and the exile of their people. Even though it would appear that God has broken Israel for good, it is just part of God’s plan to show us how dependent we really are on God’s grace. As we move into the season of Lent, we are going experience the unfolding of God’s ultimate plan as we learn about the life of Jesus Christ! I hope you can join us in worship as we continue through “The Story” together, and continue to make it a part of our lives!
Rev. John Embrey
February 7 – The Story Chapter 20 “Book of Esther”
February 14 – The Story Chapter 21 “Nehemiah”
February 21 – The Story Chapter 22 “The Birth of Jesus”
February 28 – The Story Chapter 23 “The Ministry of Jesus”