Hands of Lent

A black background with carved wooden hands, upturnedThe Hands of Lent. During my first year of seminary, I had an opportunity to hear a recorded Lenten message by the legendary Peter Marshall entitled “Were You There?” It was one of his typically soul-baring messages that took his hearers back to the calamitous events of the final, fate-filled week in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

His voice transported me from the stuffy listening room to the dusty, people-clogged streets of first century Jerusalem. As this master storyteller set the stage, I could see the faces of Jesus and His followers, smell the dust of the streets, and taste the tense, fear-ladened atmosphere.

His voice rising in a crescendo of summary, he reminded his listeners:

   We were all there that day on top of the hill--the friends of Jesus and His enemies. The church people--they were there as well as the people who never went to church. The priests were there and the scribes, Sadducees, hypocrites, proud Pharisees with their robes...
   They were there with the people who were always talking about the church and always talking about the Lord. The pious people...the unbelievers were standing there beside them. The harlots were there and their customers were there. They were all there.
   Simon of Cyrene was there, and the soldiers, too. Peter was there, and John and Andrew, and James, and Thomas, and Bartholomew. There were ALL there...
   Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
   I was. Were you?

For nearly forty years now, that question rattles through my brain every time Lent approaches. I find myself reading the old familiar story of the passion of Jesus–His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper with His disciples, His betrayal, the phony trial, the crucifixion. I try to put myself “on the scene” by asking–“Were you there?” Then, I try to imagine what it must have been like to be in the Jewish capitol during those momentous final days of the Man called Jesus.

Walk With Me

During these Sundays of Lent, I invite you to spend some time in serious contemplation of Dr. Marshall’s question “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” As we consider the hands of those involved in the final few hours of the earthly life of the Master, if we are honest, we will probably see ourselves. As we relive the last days of the One called Jesus, we interview some of the central figures in that final week, walk in their sandals for a while and their hands become your hands and mine, I invite you to join me in my annual Lenten pilgrimage.

Examine your life–your actions, motives, thoughts, faith–in the light of the Gospel. Determine where you are and where you want to be. Let these forty days of Lent be a time of growth and change in your life and your Christian walk.

MessageScripture
The Hands of BetrayalMatthew 26
The Hands of DenialLuke 22:31-34, 54-62
The Hands of JudgmentMatthew 27:1-26
The Hands of ExecutionJohn 19:16-25
The Hands of SalvationJohn 20:24-29
The Hands of PraiseMatthew 21:1-11

Maple UMC Calendar

September 2022

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4
  • Worship Service with Holy Communion
  • Worship service
  • Fellowship and Coffee Time
5
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  • Breakfast Buddies
7
  • SWMi Young Marines
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11
  • Adult Sunday School
  • Worship service
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12
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14
  • SWMi Young Marines
15
  • Finance Team
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16
17
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  • Adult Sunday School
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19
20
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21
  • Golden Maples
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22
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  • Adult Sunday School
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26
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28
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