But the more I think about it, the more I realise how evangelical and 'old school' (in the good sense) the calendar is. And perhaps even good for mission in a post-Christian age. We were freed from constraints (like the calendar) by the a baby-boomers. But maybe then, we where then left without roots and routines as a part of our lives.
The way I figure it, we celebrate Christmas which gives us a heightened opportunity to declare the wonder of the Incarnation. And we celebrate Easter, which gives us a heightened opportunity to declare Christ risen.
So why not remember Advent (before Christmas), which allows us to declare that Christ will come again? And why not Lent (before Easter), which gives us a sustained opportunity to rail against sin, and also reflect soberly on the ailments of the human heart. These are two things that evangelicals like me are big on: the second coming, and the reality of sin.
It just has to be real and authentic and from the Scriptures. That's all.
Lent is the season that is 40 Days from Ash Wednesday (last week). It concludes on Easter Sunday, where we declare that the answer to human sin is in the Resurrected Jesus.
With that in mind, I present here to you the LENT PREACHING SERIES at St Philips York St. I will preach a relevant sermon based in the Parable of the Prodigal Son on each of the following topics (Sundays at 8:30AM Holy Communion; and 10AM City Church), and we will interactively explore these issues at the Lunchtime Conferences we will host at 1:10PM on Thursdays. All at 3 York St.
It is a series about God, Honesty and Life, based on the Prodigal Son.
Sunday 1 March (Lent 1)In case you were wondering, I haven't read Dr Tim Keller's The Prodigal God. But I am planning to buy it tomorrow. And if it is as good as I suspect it will be, then we will make it available for our people to buy, read, and give to their friends during Lent.
The Joy of the Father (Luke 15:1-12)
(With an exploration on Thursday 5 March at 1:10PM.)
Sunday 8 March (Lent 2)
The Lure of Distance (Luke 15:13-14)
(With an exploration on Thursday March 12 at 1:10PM.)
Sunday 15 March (Lent 3)
The Limits of Regret (Luke 15:14-17)
(With an exploration on Thursday March 19 at 1:10PM.)
Sunday 22 March (Lent 4) - Holy Communion at 10AM
The Power of a Moral Inventory (Luke 15:17-18)
(With an exploration on Thursday March 26 at 1:10PM.)
Sunday 29 March (Lent 5)
The Freedom in Confession (Luke 15:18-23)
(With an exploration on Thursday April 2 at 1:10PM.)
Sunday 5 April (Palm Sunday)
The Barriers to Joy (Luke 15:25-31)
(With an exploration on Thursday April 9 at 1:10PM.)
12 April Easter Sunday
The End of Decay (John 20:24-29)
(With an exploration on Thursday April 16 at 1:10PM.)
In the meantime, here is a sobering prayer to pray through Lent:
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, you hate nothing that you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent: create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain from you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.Not bad, right?
Bring your friends if you live or work close the city. And I'll see if we can get the MP3s working properly.