Dear Friends in Christ,
Lent is almost upon us. For centuries – indeed millennia – Christians have used this time to focus on our Lord’s journey to Jerusalem and his trial and execution there. For forty days we gather together to contemplate Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection, trying to discern not only what it meant then, but just as much – and perhaps even more – to wonder what it might mean for us today.
That is no easy question. For while we all know that the cross is at the center of the faith, we don’t necessarily understand what the cross means. What, that is, does it means to confess that Jesus “died for our sins”? Is the cross the sign of God’s cosmic justice, divine love, or some mixture of both? Why did Jesus need to suffer in the first place? How does one man’s death change the course of history and affect our relationship with God? And what does the cross have to do with our lives today?
If you’ve ever had any of these questions (or others!), then I think you will both enjoy gathering with others from your congregation to talk about the meaning and significance of Jesus’ cross and resurrection in the Bible, in the Christian faith, and in our lives today through your congregation’s participation in “The Big Read 2013.”
After all, Christians have been talking about – and sometimes debating – these issues for a long time. So come prepared for lively conversation. Come prepared to agree on many things and perhaps disagree on others. Come prepared to value and share both your insights and your questions. Come prepared to grow deeper in your faith and closer to the people with whom you gather. And come prepared to encounter again God’s profound love poured out for you and all the world in the person of the “man hanging on a tree.”
God’s richest blessings to you during these truly awe-some forty days of Lent as together we strive to make sense of the cross.
Yours in Christ,