First Sunday in Lent
February 21, 1999
|Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7||Fruit from the forbidden tree||378: Amazing Grace|
|Psalm 32||Blessing in forgiveness||526: What a Friend We Have
536: Precious Name
|Matthew 4:1-11||Christ tempted||297: Beneath the Cross of Jesus|
|Romans 5:12-19||Man's sin condemns all; Christ's righteousness saves all||267: O Love, How Deep
381: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
700: Abide with Me
Last year during Lent, the featured hymns departed from the themes of the Lectionary scriptures to follow Christ's temptations and His ministry. There will be a departure again this year to follow creation's condition. After all, Christ's ministry would have been without purpose if creation had never gone astray. The story of Christ's life, death, and resurrection would be captivating in any setting, but it is so much more compelling because it is a story that touches each and every one of us as creations of God. Why Christ came to us, why He ministered to us, why He died for us, why He arose again--all of these are explained because of who we are, and what we need.
The "human condition" is something that we all have in common. However, the human condition does not necessarily mean the same thing to all people. Consider Adam and Eve, who were created by God and walked with God from the beginning. Then came the tree and the fruit and the fall. What a let down! People who once knew perfect fellowship with God every minute of every hour of every day were suddenly subject to the curse of death in their bodies. Even worse, they had removed themselves from God's presense for the remainder of their lives. They were left with lives of emptiness and death in their very souls.
For us today, recognizing the sin of our own human condition is painful. Imagine the pain of Adam and Eve who knew not only their sins, but the perfection that they had lost for eternity. Imagine, too, the pain that God felt. Who could bear such pain? No one. Not even God. And so God made a promise. He would provide the way to redeem His people. The way would not be easy. The way would not ignore man's sin. The way would not lift the curse of death on our bodies. But the way would restore unity and fellowship between God and His people for eternity.
This week's featured hymn, Beneath the Cross of Jesus, was written by Elizabeth C. Clephane (1830-1869). It shares beautifully the message of one who has found God's way, and where it has led us. Read the words slowly and carefully.
|1. Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
the shadow of a mighty rock
within a weary land;
a home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat,
and the burden of the day.
|2. Upon that cross of Jesus
mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One
who suffered there for me;
and from my stricken heart with tears
two wonders I confess:
the wonders of redeeming love
and my unworthiness.
Consider these words during this season of Lent. What is the human condition for you? Where do you stand with God? Can you find yourself beneath the cross of Jesus?
God bless you--
Lection at HymnSite.com
|Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.|