Worship . . . is meant to celebrate the coming of Christ (Advent); the birth of Christ (Christmas); the manifestation of Christ as the light of the whole world (Epiphany); the impending death of Christ (Lent); the events of his last week (Holy Week); the resurrection (Easter); and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost). These are the kairos events for Christians that give meaning and significance to our day-to-day lives in the world.
At the foot of the Mt. of Olives sits the Garden of Gethsemene. There are still olive trees in this garden today. One of them, is thought to be 2,000 years old. But what you might not know is that olives are pressed three times and that as Jesus prayed three times in this garden, he was also being pressed.
Pentecost Sunday ends the extraordinary season that began on the first Sunday of Advent. In approximately six months the church has been carried through all the saving events of God—his incarnation, manifestation to the world, life, death, resurrection, and ascension as well as the coming of the Holy Spirit. All these crucial events form faith and the spiritual life. . .
Bread and wine, these elements of creation, become the symbols of re-creation. For his body broken for us and his blood spilt for us are the signs of renewal and restoration.
We always think of the story of Peter denying Jesus as involving a random cock crowing. However, it is more prophetic of Jesus if he not only predicts Peter’s betrayal, but also the time it happens. It’s more likely that the “cock crowing” was a Roman trumpet played every morning before dawn to signal the changing of the guard…and it all happened in Jerusalem.
Where was Jesus crucified and buried? There are two locations that have been suggested, but ultimately the specifics don’t matter as much as this fact: he is risen.
Jesus most likely spent his last night in this hole under the house of Caiphas, the high priest. Reading Psalm 88, it’s hard not to see it as a prophecy about Jesus’ experience. That night, as the psalm says, darkness was his only friend.
I sensed this was the week that above all weeks was to be set aside for the journey into death. I knew the worship of the church would take me by the hand and lead me step-by-step into the experience of death and rebirth, if I would allow it to do so. I resolved then and there to walk in the way of the cross. I purposed to make this the week God intended it to be for me, a week of intense spiritual struggle—and reward!
-Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year
The Lord is merciful.
He is full of unfailing love.
The Lord hears our cries and hears our prayers.
He takes away our sins.
This is a prayer experience for Lent based on Psalm 6.