Welcome to the historic First Baptist Church of Memphis, serving Memphis & the Mid-South since 1839. You will find exciting ministries, mission opportunities, and vibrant worship.

Sunday Mornings:

9:30am Sunday School
11:00am Worship

Wednesday Evenings:

5:00pm Dinner
6:00pm Bible Study


200 East Parkway North, Memphis, TN 38112 ⋅ Office: 901.454.1131

CLOSE

Blog

All the Good News

We are in Lent.  Indeed the entire month of March is in Lent.   How does it feel to read those words, to consider that?   All of March is in Lent. How does the word “Lent” by itself strike you?   What feelings does it evoke? 

I think, many of us, have been preconditioned to hear the word “Lent” and feel heavy and sad and somber.   Lent can sort of weigh on you.    And, to some degree, for good reason.  At this time we reflect on the death of Christ, and it does not feel appropriate to express anything but sadness.  Furthermore we reflect on the fact that Christ died for our sins, that we are as responsible for Christ’s death as Pilate, the High Priest, the crowd, Barabbas, Peter in his denial, Judas in his betrayal, all of them.  They are us, and we are them.  So again, heaviness.   And I do think there is something to be said for sitting with this heaviness for a while.   Sometimes we need to feel the weight of our sin and shortcomings in order to be motivated to do something about them.   But if that’s it, if all Lent leaves us with is a heaviness and burden that leads to nowhere, I think most of us will just stop.   We just will.  We can’t and won’t lean into this season for very long if that’s all Lent is about.   And if that is all Lent is, then such abdication is appropriate, because how could heaviness alone be Good News?   It’s not.

No, it is my experience that those who enter fully into Lent and what it has to offer are actually those who have a deep understanding of grace and an abiding sense of hope.  They are those who believe in possibility, in the possibility that whatever sin they confess can be forgiven; that whatever fear they face, can be overcome; that whatever calling they have not followed, can be renewed; that whatever brokenness they have experienced can be healed; that whatever has died within them can rise again.  Yes, to fully enter into Lent is to dwell upon more than the fact that Christ died, it is to believe the reason he lived and died was to reveal the amazing grace of a God whose love for us is beyond all measure and for whom all things are possible.   And when you believe this, truly believe this, then you can risk confession, you can face a fear, you can acknowledge a grudge, you can admit being hurt, etc., because you trust that God can take you beyond these heavy places to something much better.   Of course, Lent doesn’t have a copyright on these deep truths.   These truths and the avenues of grace they offer are available to us throughout the year.  But with the cross ever before us in Lent, we are given the opportunity to lean into them together with special intention.

In many high liturgical churches their weekly worship services include a time of confession.  It begins with a unison prayer of confession, followed by silence for personal confession, ending with an assurance of pardon that is generally spoken by the minister, but can be unison as well.  I had a good minister friend in this tradition that said  regardless of what people do or say each Sunday, in their hearts they generally fall into two categories.  There are those that get stuck in confession and never get up off their knees to hear the assurance of pardon, and there are those that rush to the assurance of pardon, having never dared to truly confess.  If we do Lent well, we will lean into both experiences.  Hear the good news, my friends, all the good news, and dare to believe it’s true for you this Lent.  All have fallen short.   All is forgiven.    

Thanks be to God.  Amen


This article was written by Rev. Dr. David Breckenridge and originally published in the March edition of Together.
Posted by Bridget Ellis at 7:00 AM
Share |

Comments

No Comments yet!

Leave A Comment

Please answer the simple math question below to submit the form.
1 + 2 =

Events

MORE EVENTS

200 East Parkway North, Memphis TN 38112
Office: 901.454.1131 ⋅ Fax: 901.454.1135
Email UsGet DirectionsService Times