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“The Faces of Lent”

Face.  F-A-C-E.  A four letter word with at least that many meanings and connotations.  As a noun, the word “face” represents our identifying mark.  Like snowflakes or stripes on a zebra, no two faces are alike.  Your face is uniquely and singularly you!  Now, there may be things about your face that we don’t like and wish we could change or cover up.  But our face bears the imprint of God, who created each of us with a loving touch and delights in our individuality. 

As a plural noun – as in faces – we are meant to think of crowds.  Faces in the crowd.  Faces make up the crowd.  Faces shows that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.  Each of us being one part of many, sharing a common humanity with all the others.  Faces in the crowd can sometimes get lost in the crowd, like a stadium full of spectators at a sporting event.  The sea of humanity is so large that it becomes easy to lose the individuality of any one, particular face.

As a verb, “face” refers to our posture; how and in which direction we are standing.  It means to look at; to see; to gaze upon – as when we face the mirror and see our reflection in it.  But the verb “face” can also mean to confront; to call things for what they are; not to deny the truth but to admit and accept it, no matter how difficult that might be.

The season of Lent is about the word “face.”  It’s about facing the cross – seeing and gazing upon the sacrifice of Christ; his death and resurrection.  It’s about confronting our own sin – for which Jesus died to save us.  Sin is about “missing the mark” of perfection; failing to adequately live by God’s Word and will.  The vast majority of sins are committed not because we mean to, but rather in spite of the fact that we don’t.  We certainly don’t try to miss the mark, but even in spite of our best efforts, we fall short of the glory of God.

Lent is about confronting that reality; accepting that we are part of a crowd – a common humanity, whose nature it is to do the very thing we shouldn’t do and to fail to do the very thing we should.  Lent is about not hiding our face in the crowd and hoping we don’t have to admit this truth.  Rather it is about accepting the responsibility that we all have – as unique individuals – to examine ourselves and admit our need for Christ; his forgiveness; his grace.  No one can do that work for us, but us.  And Lent is God’s invitation to accept this important and saving work. 

Which is why we wear ashes on our faces on Ash Wednesday, which signals the beginning of Lent.  To remind us of our brokenness; our need for Christ; and our willingness to keep facing the cross throughout our life of faith.  For it is “In the cross, in the cross, that our individual souls will find their ultimate rest.”      

Blessings – Michael

 

Posted by Michael Karunas with

“Faces at the Cross – Small Group Opportunity”

There were many faces in the crowd that witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus.  Many of them are well known.  Of course, there was Judas (who betrayed),  Peter (who denied) and Pilate (who washed his hands).  But there were many others as well.  Lesser known, perhaps, and more likely to be “lost in the crowd.”  As we journey through the season of Lent at Central, toward the cross of Good Friday and the empty tomb of Easter Sunday, we will look at some of these faces and be invited to see ourselves in each.  And throughout, we will be reminded that through each of those faces – as through our own – the face of God shines.

 

Feb 18 IntroductionThe Face of God

Feb 25 The Crowds (who exalted Jesus one day and cheered for his

Crucifixion the next)

Mar 4 Simon of Cyrene (who carried Jesus’ cross with him)

Mar 11 Roman Centurion (who confessed Jesus as he died)

Mar 18 Two Thieves (who were crucified alongside Jesus)

Mar 25 Many women (who stayed near Jesus as he died)

Each of the Faces at the Cross of Jesus’ crucifixion represents a story.  A story so important, each was chosen to be part of the story of salvation as it was written through the life, death and  resurrection of Jesus. During our Lenten sermon series, we will be exploring those stories in greater detail.  

In that same spirit of storytelling, we are inviting you to be part of a Storytelling Small Group experience.  Each week, three (3) small groups will be led by different leaders but all will be covering the same material.  Participants will be a given a “storytelling prompt” ahead of time, based on the story we’ll be emphasizing in worship that week, and in the small group will share a story from their own life.  We believe that stories are sacred, for God dwells in the stories that define us.  And we believe there is transforming power in stories, both to unite us and change us.  Moreover, we believe that there are more stories within us than we probably realize and the goal of this small group experience is to put us in touch with those stories. 

Sunday, February 25 4:00 p.m.

All small group participants are asked to attend an opening orientation session

Tuesdays    1:00 p.m. Rm 240    Don Martin           (2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27)

Tuesdays    4:00 p.m. Café    Scott Woolridge   (2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27)

Thursdays  5:30 p.m. Café    Tina Miller       (3/1, 3/8, 3/15, 3/22, 3/29)

At the opening orientation session, we will hand out the storytelling prompts for each week.  But here’s a sample of what a prompt looks like: 

Week 1 – Theme: the Crowds who welcomed Jesus on Palm Sunday and turned on him 5 days later

Minister’s Article Continued on Page 3….

Describe a time in your life when you “turned on a dime…”

Tell us about a time in your life when you “followed the crowd…”

Hope you can be part of this Lenten experience. Sign up in the Welcome Center for the small group of your choosing!!! 

Blessings – Michael

Posted by Michael Karunas with

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