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Pausing on the Road to Jerusalem

A Lenten Study

Publication Date:
1/31/2007
Pages:
0
Product Type:
Internet Download
Product Number:
TC0148

This study is built around the Common Lectionary Gospel readings for the five Sundays in Lent and Palm/Passion Sunday of 2007 (Year C). As a Lenten study, it ends with anticipating--indeed aching for--Easter Sunday. But Easter is another story and another study, albeit one that casts its light back over the preceding Lenten dim. Participants who worship with congregations that follow the Common Lectionary will find that these lessons amplify their Sunday hearing of these same passages and the sermons preached on them. For others, these passages, selected by the Lectionary to explore the great themes of Lent, will offer a broad and varied set of studies fit for the season. This year, most of the Lectionary Gospel readings are from Luke's Gospel, enriched, as is often the case in Lent, by several from John's Gospel.

The great Lenten themes found in this study include

  • Temptation
  • Ato nement--Why the Cross?
  • Theodicy--Why do good people suffer?
  • The Breadth of God's grace
  • The place of wealth
  • The significance of Palm Sunday

Neither Lent nor Advent is exactly "biblical," of course. But the days they each await--Easter and Christmas--recall events central to the story of Jesus in the Gospels. Over the centuries, Christians have found it helpful to prepare for the keeping of these two central biblical feasts of the Christian year with seasons that offer a shared discipline to ready our hearts and minds to celebrate our Savior's birth or resurrection. Hence the later creation of these two seasons of "making ready." Lent, and originally Advent as well, has long been essentially penitential, that is, a time set aside for making sacrifices, for "giving things up for Lent," for rigorous self-examination, for honest confession. In recent years, however, many Christian have focused their Lenten preparation more on study and prayer. Nevertheless, such study and prayer occurs even as Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem, where he will meet betrayal and death. So the very act of study in Lent is Lenten; it cannot escape the shadow of the cross and invites us to engage the ancient Lenten themes of sacrifice, self-examination, and confession.

Michael L. Lindvall is Senior Pastor of Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City and has previously served as pastor to congregations in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Northport, Long Island. He is the author of What Did Jesus Do? A Crash Course in His Life and Times and two novels, The Good News from North Haven and Leaving North Haven.


Christy Lang is Associate Pastor for Christian Education and Discipleship at The Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City. She is originally from Washington State.


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