In a couple of weeks I will begin a six-week teaching series for Lent for the Sunday School program at our church. Typically they bring in outside speakers for this series, but it is my privilege to be the lecturer this year.
I have come up with the following as my theme for the six weeks. It is not original: I took the idea from a Catholic publication I was reading online. But I am intrigued by the different stories I will get to work with and eager to go deeper in these examples of God moving and working and extending grace to his people.
So here it is:
Forty Days, Forty Years: God’s people preparing for Grace
The number forty appears throughout the Biblical story as a marker for special seasons of separation, removal, renewal, and testing. From the flood to the wandering Israelites, to Moses and Elijah’s encounters with God, to Jesus’ own desert temptation and resurrection appearances, we are led to consider how God moves and works in these seasons of journey, separation, revelation and exile.
As one author writes, the forty days of Lent are “the Church’s annual ‘wilderness experience’; its retreat to ask again the basic questions.” They are also a reminder that God is living and active, at work in us and in our world to reveal his love and grace. We will spend six weeks examining how God worked and moved in different “forties” throughout scripture, and consider together how God might be using this Lenten season to prepare us as individuals and as a church family for a new act of grace.