Our Easter Journey: From the Ashes of Lent to the Fire of Pentecost
What is it that makes a Christian a Christian? Is it following a particular philosophy or having an attitude of care and compassion for others or living with moral integrity? Those may be included in living like a Christian, but what makes a Christian a Christian?
Don Saliers, professor of worship at Emory University, writes:
“At the heart of the Christian faith is our participation in the
life, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ as
Lord. We proclaim that ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (John
1:14). Jesus Christ was born into human history in the fullness of time
for our salvation. In time he lived and taught, suffered and was put to
death; but God ‘raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right
hand…and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head
over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him
who fills all in all’ (Ephesians 1:20, 22-23). Through the death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are delivered from sin and death, and
by the Holy Spirit we are born into eternal life with God. This we
confess; this we must renew continually in our worship and in our
Throughout the whole of human history, God has been seeking us, pursuing us in love, that we might become who God intended us to be “In the beginning:” God’s people living in relationship with God, others and ourselves in peace and wholeness. God’s whole history with humankind is brought to a climax in the passion-death-resurrection of Jesus. We dare not miss this Holy Season or we will miss God’s intent that transcends the ages.
Early in the life of the church, Christians found power in reading scripture, praying, singing, and worshipping with intention. While empires and cultures did their best—and still do—to shape Christians in the image of the empire or culture, the followers of Christ desired to be shaped and formed from within by the Holy Spirit that they might grow more like Christ and do God’s will in loving outreach to the world.
One of the earliest practices of intention of the church in her worship was the cycle of Lent-Easter-Pentecost. In these weeks, we are deep into now, Christians walk with Jesus toward Jerusalem and with the disciples toward Pentecost.
They reflect upon their need for forgiveness from sin and failure that they might be
overwhelmed, instead, by the grace of God.
They pray that they might know what it was like to be at Jesus’ side as he taught, prayed,
laughed, cried, and was betrayed, executed and exalted by God through the Resurrection.
Our walk together as those who love and follow Jesus through Lent to Easter and Pentecost is a walk from the ashes of sin to the fire of lives redeemed and restored by the power of Christ.
We are on a journey toward becoming God’s Easter people.
Lent helps us understand the depth of what it cost God to get us there. Pentecost empowers us to be carriers of Resurrection-Love to the world.