This Sunday is the first Sunday of Lent, a traditional time of prayer, fasting, and repentance observed by Christians since the days of the early church. Several elements of the service have been adjusted to fit the character of this season. We will begin each Sunday by singing What Wondrous Love Is This (meditating on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross) and go out singing Christ Be With Me (confessing our need for His continual presence in our lives). Each week we will take a moment after corporate confession to confess silently and then respond by singing from John 1:29, “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us,” in a new musical setting, the Clovercroft Agnus Dei. We will also learn a new psalm, Hear Me, All You People—Psalm 49. This psalm’s bleak text and somber melody point us to the glorious reality that Christ came to deal with death—though “Man in his pomp will not remain,” “God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for He will receive me” (Psalm 49:12, 15). I pray that over these next six weeks, these meditative elements in the service would refresh our hearts in preparation for the joy to come on Easter Sunday. —Henry C. Haffner
Key Words: God, Attributes, Creation, Thinking, Honor, Thanks, Hearts
Keystone Verse: For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.