LENT CELEBRATION 2015
THE COLORS OF GOD'S LIGHT
WEEK 1: Purple
The Kingship of Christ
The color for this first week in Lent is purple. Purple is the color of royalty, and because cloth made of this color was expensive, it was often worn as a sign of wealth. During Lent the color purple speaks to the Kingship of Christ Jesus, and yet what an unexpected King he was! The Jews were looking for a conquering Messiah. A man of power, born from a high ranking family, who would come as a warrior King and would defeat the Romans and establish a government in their place. The Jews would finally be lifted up from their downtrodden state.
Instead of a conquering hero, they received a Savior born of poor parents from a little out of the way town who said, “Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and give unto God that which is God’s.” A Savior that, rather than defeating our enemies, commanded us to love, care, and pray for them. He was a Savior that many wanted to disown and discredit, but because of the power with which he taught and performed miracles, his Kingship could not be defeated. We still honor him as our King today. Jesus Christ is the Light that shines in the darkness. God sent his only Son to die on the cross so that same light can now shine through each of us.
Lord, as we begin our journey into Lent, reveal again to us the power and grace of your Kingship. Prepare our hearts to receive the Light of God and to share it with all those we meet. Amen.
WEEK 2: Blue
The Humanity and Divinity of Christ
Blue, especially royal blue, symbolizes the birth of Jesus. Many churches use this color in their advent candles, banners, and paraments during the celebration of Advent to distinguish it from the celebration of Lent during which time the color purple is used. The color blue is also often used to describe a state of mind such as sadness or depression. Jesus was fully human and he experienced the entire range of emotions that we humans do. The Bible is full of stories that point to Christ expressing emotion. Jesus wept, from John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible and yet, it is such a powerful reminder of his humanity.
An all-powerful, all-knowing God that is perfect can often seem distant and unrelatable, at times perhaps even unreachable, to human beings who all too often have to deal with our own faults and weaknesses. It can make the divide that lies between us and God seem insurmountable. But we do not have a Savior whose life was simple, easy, or carefree. He could, and did, suffer just as we do, and yet because in addition to being fully human he was also fully God, he lived a perfect life. He showed us the way as He lived and died and was resurrected that we may once again be counted as the children of God.
Lord, as we journey through this second week of Lent, help us to fully live each day with all our emotions without being overwhelmed by them. May they help us find our way to live our lives more fully centered in your Love. Amen.
Week 3: Green
Christ: The Well Spring of Life
The color for the third week of Lent is green. This color brings us the gift of renewal. Green is the color of grass and leaves that begin to grow again in the Spring after a long, dark, cold winter. Much as this season is a time of rebirth for the natural would, Lent is a time of renewal and rebirth of our life in Christ.Christ is our well spring. Colossians 1:16 says "And through him were created all things that are in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether imperial thrones or lordships or angelic orders or dominions, all things were in his hand and were created by him;" Our lives our created in him. And a key question to ask ourselves as we journey through Lent is what is Christ trying to create in my life during this season?
Isaiah 43:19 says "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth and you shall know it. I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Do you find yourself resisting change? Trying to hang onto the way things have always been? Even if you realize is the direction that Christ is leading, we often find it difficult to take that next step, to embrace change and do the new thing.So often we forget that unless a seed dies, it can never be planted to grow again and bear fruit. During this season of Lent we must do our best to die to all that would separate us from living fully in Christ. As the color green is so restful for the eyes, we must be willing to rest in Christ Jesus even when things seem uncertain.
Lord of Life, help us to embrace the change that living wholly for you will bring to our lives and we continue on our Lenten journey. Help us to rest in you in times of change, strengthen our faith and commitment in the well spring of your never ending love that we may live lives of service. Amen.
Week 4: Yellow
Jesus Christ is the Source of True Joy
The color of the fourth week of Lent is yellow. Yellow, the color of the sun that shines in the heavens, is the color representing joy. Joy brightens our lives much like the sun gives light to our days. Psalm 30:5 says "in part . . . weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning." The more that we choose to walk in God’s light the more we realize that Jesus Christ is the true source of joy.
John 15:11 says "I have spoken these things to you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full." God wants our lives to be joy-filled. Joy is meant to be our natural state. That does not mean that pain and suffering won’t come, but even in the worst of times we can choose to live in joy. How can we consciously choose to live out this joy? Each time that we choose to center our hearts on God, we return to the joy that created us. Philippians 2:1-2 says, "If, therefore, you have found consolation in Christ or wholehearted fellowship of the Spirit or compassion and mercies, Complete my joy by being in one accord and one love and one soul and one mind."
By coming together to worship, by supporting each other in prayer and ministry during both good times and hard times, by choosing to serve our Lord and Savior above all others, by being fully present in the moment, now, and offering gratitude for all of it, each day, we experience the fullness of joy in Christ.
Lord of Joy, as we continue the journey through this season of Lent, fill us with the light of true joy that comes only from your presence that we may share it with all whom we meet. Amen.
WEEK 5: ORANGE
Christ is our Source of Hope
Orange is the color of hope, the color of change. It is the color that comes at sunrise as the new day dawns. It is also the color that comes once more at sunset as the day passes into the darkness of the night yet again. Change is often difficult for people. So many of us struggle with it as we go through life. We want to cling to the familiar, the known, but this way of living is a denial of the truth that Christ is the source of our hope. Mark 9:23 says "Jesus said to him, if you can believe, everything is possible to him who believes. And though we know that our God is an awesome God who performs miracles, still we struggle with unbelief, with a lack of hope."
Jeremiah 17:7-8 says "Blessed is the man who trust in the Lord, and whose hope is in him. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, that spreads out its roots by the stream, and it shall not be afraid when the heat comes, but it’s leaves shall be green; and shall not be afraid in the year of the drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruits. Hope in Christ will sustain us as we journey in faith. It doesn’t matter whether we’re facing the high places of a mountain or the long winding trail through a dark unknown valley, Christ is ever with us. His Holy Spirit guides us as we make our way Home."
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace so that by faith you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Week 6: RED
Jesus Christ: The Perfect Sacrifice
The color red is associated with the blood that Jesus Christ shed for mankind on the cross of Calvary. It is a symbol of the love and perfect sacrifice that paid the debt for all of humanity’s sin, that we could be reconciled with God. John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life." God’s love for us is perfect, infinite, and ever present. We are loved so deeply and completely that it is beyond the ability of our intellect to fully comprehend it. The Holy Spirit is always working to reveal God’s love to us as we live our lives each day.
Ephesians 3:17-19 says "That Christ may dwell in your inner man by faith, and in your hearts by love, strengthening your understanding and your foundation, So that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the height and depth and length and breadth of God's love, And to know the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge that you may be filled with the fullness of God." Jesus Christ, the author of our faith, was both human and divine. He is the well spring of life, the source of true joy and hope. He is God’s love made visible then, now, and always. 1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain, hope, faith, and love; but the greatest of these is love. His blood, shed for us, covers us all.
Lord of Infinite Love, We thank you for the gift of your sacrifice that granted us the gift of salvation. May we live and serve each day centered in this perfect love that all the world may come to know you. Amen.