Lenten Catalyst

March 11, 2014

Reblogged from: I'm Just Saying

On Monday evening we had our first Confirmation session of 2014, and I am so very excited about what we will be learning, and how we will be growing in faith together. Here are some of the questions we answered during our time together. Let’s see how you do:

1. The first creation story (Genesis 1) teaches us that God is ____________.

2. The second creation story (Genesis 2) reveals that God is ____________.

3. Sin means ____________.

4. The three rules of Methodism are: _______________________________.

5. Redemption means: __________________________________________.

6. God offers us grace in three distinct ways, which are: ________________.

So, how did you answer these questions? Do you need a refresher course? No worries if you do. The season of Lent is a time of preparation. It is the blessed tedious work of washing and peeling produce, measuring and sifting flour, washing and drying the serving dishes, chopping and dicing, preheating and pounding . . . all so that the soul is ready to savor the Easter feast.

baptism 2It is true that what Christ accomplished through the cross and empty tomb is done for our behalf, but this Justifying Grace of God is not a commodity for consumption; rather it is the catalyst for a Kingdom in which the last are first, the poor are blessed, the lilies are considered, and the enemy is loved. It is the spark igniting a counterintuitive community who shares their blessings and burdens, heart bursts and sorrows. It is the epiphany that Christ loves you and the person you can’t stand . . . and if you’re not ready for the difficult truth of love, it’s ok . . . that’s why we have time to prepare. ”Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51) as we together prepare our hearts for the Easter feast.

Oh, and I almost forgot the answers to our quiz. Genesis 1 reveals God’s creative power to bring order from chaos. Genesis 2 reminds us that God loves us enough to get the divine hands dirty. Sin means to “miss the mark,” because firing arrows into the wrong direction is meaningless and people get hurt. The three rules of Methodism are: Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God (or Shalom as Carson put it). Redemption means to “buy back,” as in “Christ took our sin and offers us grace in return.” Grace is understood as Prevenient, Justifying, and Sanctifying, or Grace is a “Peanut butter and Jelly Sandwich from God” as our Confirmation class remembered it.