Preparing for Worship – Doug Haney, associate pastor.
Today is the first Sunday of the season of Lent. Beginning with Ash Wednesday, there are 40 days in Lent and six Sundays for a total of 46 days that lead us to Easter Sunday.
In the small Baptist church in north Georgia of my childhood, Easter was always celebrated with great fanfare, but the only nod to Lent was occasionally a cantata on Palm Sunday evening focusing on the death of Christ.
In the spring of 1983 Lori and I were expecting our first child as I completed a graduate degree in music at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth. I had recently resigned from serving a rural church quite a distance from where we lived in student housing, and so we were free to choose a church to attend worship.
I had heard of this cathedral-like church near downtown, so we decided to go to Broadway Baptist Church. There in that neo-Gothic sanctuary I experienced worship from Lent through Holy Week and to Easter. In the carefully crafted liturgy of this worship, the story of Jesus’ suffering and death and resurrection became a pilgrimage guiding my heart and my mind, my emotions and my longing for meaning.
Perhaps ever since that season long ago my heart has been “strangely warmed” during Lent — to consider again the love of God outpoured for all God’s sons and daughters, and to ask myself the hard question, will I continue to walk the way Jesus walked? And sometimes when I am brave enough, I may even look in the mirror and ask, what will I let go of and what will I take up so the way of Christ is more than simply a mere affirmation of a tragic and triumphant story.
How then shall we live as we follow the way of Christ in our time?