Lent 2022

6th March is the first Sunday in Lent. As Baptists we often sit lightly to the traditional seasons of the church calendar. However, these seasons do remind us of the key events of the Christian story, help us to reflect on the work of God in salvation and focus our minds on that which is central to what we believe. They can also be times when we draw closer to God, recommit ourselves as followers of Jesus and grow as Christian believers. They remind us that God has acted in the world for salvation and is still at work in the world. They point us to the future hope in which Christ will come again, restoring all things and bringing in a new order. In the current world situation – learning to live with Covid and the threat of nuclear war in the air – we need the assurance of our faith in Jesus Christ. 


Perhaps in the uncertainty of life around us, Lent will be a time when we draw closer to God through Jesus as we meditate on the events leading up to Easter weekend. It is a time to focus on the mystery and wonder of the work of God in Christ. It is a mystery that Christ should come and die for the sins of the world, when God could justifiably have dispensed with creation. It is a mystery as to how the sacrifice of Christ deals with the sins of the world and deals with our sin, but we thank God that it does. The suffering and tragedy of all that has taken place in Ukraine and other countries in the first twenty two years of this century, remind us that life can suddenly change and all that we thought was secure and stable can crumble. 


It is not uncommon to hear, ‘Who would have thought that in the 21st Century this could happen in Europe?’ The implication is that this sort of thing is to be expected on other continents, but not Europe. We are developed, civilised and sophisticated. Surely we have advanced beyond the need to dominate another country and fight a war to do so? What we have seen happening in Ukraine illustrates the sinfulness of humankind that emerges in our selfishness and through fear. It emerges as we think we have replaced God and can do without God. It illustrates the fact that humankind is not on some sort of trajectory to perfection and we need a saviour.


Jesus is considered naive and a failure by many, because of the way he ‘followed the path of obedience to death, even death on a cross’. He is not the role model for war mongers, because 

Your king comes to you,

Righteous and victorious,

Lowly and riding on a donkey,

On a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9


In ‘The Passion of Christ’ film, Jesus is shown crushing a snake’s head and at the cross the devil is depicted despairing as Jesus gives up his spirit. The point being made is that the evil one has been overcome. As we move through Lent, there is a seriousness and solemnity about it, especially in current circumstances. However we know that Jesus has overcome sin and evil, and one day ‘There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying or pain, because the old order of things has passed away.’ (Revelation 21:4). Thanks be to God!                                               Russell