It Has Begun

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Join us each week as we journey to Easter. Each week you will find a new Lenten reflection to help you prepare for a grand and hope-filled celebration of the greatest day in history. the day that the angels declared “He is Risen!”

It Has Begun:

A Lenten Reflection

           That’s right. It has begun. What has begun? What has begun is the annual 40-day journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. The journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter is a journey that countless of Christians have made for nearly 2,000 years. It is a journey that Christians use to reflect on the teaching and life of Jesus. This period of reflection is used to prepare the church to appreciate and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

           The resurrection of Jesus is a foundational belief at Northpark that unites us and serves as a compass to guide us in our ministry. This is why you are invited to return here for a weekly Lenten reflection. Our desire as a church is that a journey like this will allow you to experience the love of God by hearing the good news that Jesus is alive. Northpark also believes this journey will be a means by which God shows his love to you through us as we discover together the wonder and majesty of the resurrection of Jesus the King. Our journey begins with this from the Apostle Paul’s found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

            There are four key ideas in this passage that serve to guide our journey. The first idea is that the gospel or good news is the same gospel, the same good news that Paul preached, and we have received. This gospel has been described as the old, old story. Indeed, though it may be an old story it is as fresh and meaningful today as it was when Paul preached it to the Corinthians in the mid-first century A.D. Paul might say to us that this gospel he preached, and we have received needs nothing added. He would tell us that the gospel we heard and received is a solid foundation on which to stand.

            Second, Paul would have us understand this gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is a secure place on which to stand. This gospel, that contains the good news of what Jesus did, furnishes us the indispensable condition that makes it possible for us to stand resolutely during the storms created by evil and its comrade chaos.

            The third key idea is linked to the previous idea. The cross and the tomb provide a place to stand steadfastly. Both the cross and the tomb give us our standing before God. Our standing is the product of what Jesus accomplished. It is our belief in what Jesus accomplished at the cross and through the empty tomb that gives us our standing with God. This standing is that we are at peace with God (Rom. 5:1). Our standing before God is secure because we stand on the solid rock of the salvation made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. What is salvation? Salvation results in our forgiveness; God’s acceptance of us; God’s favor; a lasting peace with God; a transformation from sinfulness to righteousness; and a new heart guided by loyalty and allegiance to one who made this all possible.

            Finally, the last key idea is found in the declaration that we are saved if we hold firmly to what Paul preached and we have received, believed, and accepted as God’s truth. Holding firmly steadies us in the storm. Tenaciously holding on means holding onto what Jesus accomplished and being established in and by the salvation that the gospel offers. Holding on is not grasping desperately onto a wish or unspecified hope. Holding on hold means we allow the salvation Jesus provided to hold us securely in its transformative power as we link hands with our Savior King.

            Start your journey to Resurrection Sunday focusing on these ideas. Next Wednesday you will find a new Lenten reflection to help you prepare your heart and mind for a grand and hope-filled Easter.