Embracing the Uncertain: A Lenten Worship Series for Unsteady Times

The season of Lent is the sobriety before the celebration of Easter.  On Ash Wednesday (2/14), the touch of Ash on our skin and the reminder that we are dust call to mind the precariousness of our existence.  Relationships break, discernment fails, confidence falters, fears loom, shame builds, and temptations grow.  Uncertainty abounds in our lives and in our world.  Lent is our invitation to engage life’s uncertainties, not ignore them.  Ultimately, it is only in embracing the uncertain that we can fully acknowledge the power and the glory of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Feb. 18-First Sunday in Lent

Message:            The Desperate Father and the Uncertainty of Faith

Text:                      Mark 9:14-29

A desperate father comes to Jesus for more than the healing of his son.  His words, “I believe; help my unbelief!” come from a man who is not sure how to have faith when his world and his mind are swimming with doubts.

Feb. 25-Second Sunday in Lent

Message:            Peter and the Uncertainty of Forgiveness

Text:                      Matthew 18:21-22

In our text, we find Peter pondering the frailty of human relationships and wrestling with how to forgive someone who had wronged him.

Mar. 4-Third Sunday in Lent

Message:            The Crowd and the Uncertainty of Worry

Text:                      Luke 12:1-34

An anonymous voice from the crowd, whose dispute with his brother over an inheritance prompts Jesus to teach them about how to find security in a future filled with worry.

Mar. 11-Fourth Sunday in Lent

Message:            Lazarus and the Uncertainty of Mortality

Text:                      John 11:1-44

Mary and Martha, grieving over the brother Lazarus, seem to be angry at Jesus for his supposed indifference, and find themselves staring squarely at the reality of their finite human existence.

Mar. 18-Fifth Sunday in Lent

Message:            Zacchaeus and the Uncertainty of Surrender

Text:                      Luke 19:1-10

Zacchaeus, the tax collector, who made a career out of cheating others, comes to the realization that his corrupt ways do not constitute a holy life.

Mar. 25-Palm/Passion Sunday

Service of the Palms:      Mark 11:1-11

Service of the Passion:   Mark 14:1-15:47

Palm/Passion Sunday is a day of sharp contrasts.  In the first part of the worship, we experience the joyous demonstration of loyalty to Jesus as he enters Jerusalem—who comes in the name of the Lord.  Yet the shouts of “Hosanna!” are under a shadow cast by the crucifixion to come as we move into the passion narrative.  Through this worship experience, we encounter anew the ambiguity of our own participation in the triumphal entry and the passion of our Lord.

Mar. 29-Holy Thursday

Message:            Jesus and the Uncertainty of Obedience

Text:                      Matthew 26:36-46

On the night before his death, we find Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane struggling to discern the mystery and complexity of God’s will.