Lent*, 40 days leading to the events of Holy Week and Easter, has always been a time of intense spiritual examination and introspection for the Christ follower. It is a season that calls us to own up to the truth that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). The story of God’s love is told in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus, the one without sin, is accused of the sins of which we are guilty!
Lent magnifies this story because it leads to the cross. Jesus committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth . . . He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:22-24). The innocent Son of God had no sins of his own for which he deserved to die, yet his enemies sought to destroy him and falsely accused him of violating the commandments of God. He was betrayed and delivered over to the authorities, unjustly condemned and nailed to a cross between two criminals. For us, he “was numbered with the transgressors” and “bore the sin of many” (Isaiah 53:12). It was our sins against God’s commandments—our disobedience—that Jesus bore in his body on the cross. The Lord laid on him “the iniquity of us all.” Jesus suffered the penalty of death in our place, and “by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
Our Lenten worship series will explore how sinless Jesus carried both the false accusations and the weight of our sin to the cross. We’ll connect the false accusations leveled at Jesus to the Ten Commandments, starting on Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent. Our series is called By His Wounds, We Are Healed. Daily Devotions and Small Group Resources are available for those who want to go deeper. Discover a love that runs deeper than your less than perfection, your weak performance, and your un-righteousness. The message of Lent, the message of Jesus and the message of the cross is that while we fall short of God’s perfect will and are ultimately stained by our sin nature, GOD STILL LOVES US! By his wounds, we are healed!
*read more about Lent here. [https://www.britannica.com/topic/Lent ]
Ash Wednesday Opportunities
For Ash Wednesday this year, we have two opportunities for worship and reflection.
- Pastor Stan will be sharing a video devotion and an introduction to our Lenten worship series, By His Wounds, We Are Healed.
- In addition, we will be participating in a live-stream Ash Wednesday event, “A Night with New Room,” featuring Matt Maher. The event is free, but registration is required in order to receive the live-stream link. REGISTER NOW >>
Lastly, there are two local opportunities to receive ashes tomorrow:
- Wilson Memorial UMC (1113 State Route 3 N, Gambrills) will offer a “drive-thru” imposition of ashes from 2-4 pm.
- Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church (1657 Crofton Parkway) will be holding a virtual service via their Facebook page at 12:00 p.m., followed by a “drive-thru” imposition of ashes from 12:30-1:00 p.m. and 7:00-7:30 p.m.
Join Community UMC for the season of Lent with our Lent-at-home kit. These make and take kits are a creative and fun opportunity to deepen your faith and share the journey of Lent with your Community family.
What’s in a Lent-at-home kit, you ask? The free kits will include a devotional booklet and bookmark connected to our Lenten series. In addition, the kits will include a few other tools for the Lenten journey: an olive wood palm cross, a votive candle, communion elements, and a palm branch (for make-your-own-ashes).
Kits will be available for pickup at the church on Ash Wednesday, February 17, from 12-1:45 pm or 5-6:45 pm. We have a lot of kits available, so feel free to reserve several to give as gifts to family, friends, and neighbors.
The kits are our gift to you. If you wish, you may donate toward the cost of the kit ($10) by visiting cumc.net/give. Orders are due by the end of the day Sunday, February 14, and details on when and how you can pick up your kit will be communicated closer to the start of Lent. If you have further questions, contact the church office.