Worship Arts: The Lenten Season2.26.2017
I make the assumption that most people know this, but the “E” in the acronym that we use as a moniker for our church’s name (PEPC) stands for the word Evangelical. Applied as such, evangelical is a descriptor of our theological position and ecclesiological affiliation. At the heart of all we do and believe—of everything it means to be evangelical—is the centrality of the gospel. This is especially true in our corporate worship. In fact, the two words (gospel and evangelical) share the same original Greek word: euangelion which means literally, “good news.”
In 1 Corinthians chapter 15:1-6 the Apostle Paul gives us as concise a definition of the gospel as can be found in Scripture, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you… that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to (many).” So we see that the gospel is in some sense the announcement of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as the fulfillment of Jewish messianic prophecies. At the heart of this are the central events of what we call Holy Week. Beginning on Palm Sunday with Christ’s triumphal entry, through the last supper and upper room discourse on Maundy Thursday, the crucifixion and burial on Good Friday, and culminating with the resurrection on Easter Sunday, this is the most significant week not only of the Christian year, but of the Christian Life! As such, here at PEPC, we believe these events (the remembering of them, the rehearsing of them, the reaffirmation of the truths they represent) not only need to get highlighted, they need to be prepared for! That’s why we have an Ash Wednesday service and observe Lent. Not because someone a long time ago told us we should (although it is right to consider the wisdom of those who’ve come before us), or because we were jealous of our friends in the Catholic tradition, but because we are a forgetful people who are in constant need of reminding. Constant need of having our affections reshaped, re-aimed at those things which are of ultimate importance: namely the truth of the gospel!
So Lent then is a season of preparation and repentance during which we clear away distractions to help us better anticipate and remember the deep truths of Good Friday and celebrate the life-altering joy of Easter!
“Lord God, in this season of Lent
we look forward to our remembrance of Jesus’ death
and our celebration of his resurrection.
We pray that your Spirit will renew in us today
our anticipation for these events
and our awareness that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection
are a sure source of hope and life.
In the power of Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”
(Taken from the Worship SourceBook, Second Edition)