The final installment in our Lent teaching series about the seven statements Jesus makes from the cross. Jon Bowles (Beggars Table) joins our pastor Rustin Smith to reflect on this in-depth series finale. Join us Sunday morning on Zoom and use the prayers and discussion guide below on this page. Enjoy!
Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing! —Revelation 5:12, NRSV
Christ died for all, in order that they who are alive may live no longer for themselves but for him who died for them and rose again. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
I ask your prayers of thanksgiving, giving God praise and glory for all good things that have come from God into our lives. Let us give thanks.
If, then, any are in Christ, they are a new creation; the former things have passed away: behold, they are made new. For God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts, to give enlightenment concerning the knowledge of the glory of God, shining on the face of Christ Jesus.
I ask your prayers for those in your life who walk apart from a connection to God or the church. Let us lift up the names of those we carry in our hearts to God’s care. (Say names aloud).
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk, then, as children of light, for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and justice and truth, and test what is well pleasing to God.
I invite your prayers of repentance. To admit what hurts, what you have participated in that takes you or others away from the love of God. Let us confess our sin, by what we have done and by what we have left undone, entrusting our true selves to God’s mercy.
For if we live, we live to the Lord, or if we die, we die to the Lord. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. You were buried together with Christ in baptism, and in him also you rose again through faith in the working of God who raised him from the dead. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. “Death is swallowed up in victory! O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” Thanks be to God, who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
—based on Romans 14:8; 1 Corinthians 15:54-55; 2 Corinthians 4:6; 5:15, 17; Ephesians 5:8-10; Colossians 2:12
Jesus said reminded us that all the earth is God’s when he said, “Freely you have received, so freely give.”
So let us pray:
Father, you are an abundant giver.
There is nothing that I have that you have not given me.
The way of your kingdom is the way of generosity.
Help me to honor you with my resources.
Free me from the deceit of riches.
Lead me on the path of generosity.
For your glory, Lord, for the abundance of my own life and for the sake of others.
Watch this weeks video (or listen to the audio podcast), Seven Words: Spirit, a conversation between Jon Bowles (Pastor, Beggars Table), and Rustin Smith (Pastor, Vox Dei Community).
Before you read, pray, or speak, take some slow deep breaths. Remember God breathed life into humans. God's kingdom is everlasting and unshakable.
Reflect on Luke 23:44-46. Pay attention to what stands out to you.
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
"Spirit" is the deepest part of us (synonymous in Scripture with "heart" or "will"). What does it mean to commit (commend, bequeath) one's spirit to God?
How do you think/feel about the idea of "control" as it works in your life?
How did the diagram of the true self, false self, and place of abiding hit you? How do you think about the true and false self in your life? How do you get perspective to see yourself as God sees you, apart from the roles you play, or the achievements and failures you associate yourself with?
What do you think of the idea that Jesus' seven words from the cross make a good map for us to find our way out of being trapped in the false self?
Do you identify your current portion of the journey with any of the seven words?
1. Forgive (giving or receiving forgiveness)
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” - Luke 23:34
2. Paradise (ordering and naming our desires rightly)
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” - Luke 23:43
3. Behold (taking our place in the family of God)
“Woman, behold thy son!”... “Behold thy mother!” - John 19:26-27
4. Forsaken (entering the dark night of the soul)
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” - Matthew 27:46
5. Thirst (acknowledging our vulnerability)
“I thirst.” - John 19:28
6. Finished (completing the work God has for us)
“It is finished.” - John 19:30
7. Spirit (Letting go and surrendering to God)
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” - Luke 23:46
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