A Word About Worship: Saving Grace — Intro to Lent 2016

By February 1, 2016Lent, Sanctuary

Linda McDermott_150Salvation is a foundational concept in the Christian faith. Oftentimes, however, we don’t have a good, rich, and full understanding of what that means — and how it informs the way we live out our faith. Too often our understanding of salvation is shaped by casual conversations, media portrayals, or street corner evangelists, and we end up with an understanding that is confused, limited, and sometimes even offensive. The Bible offers many facets of the concept of salvation, each warranting careful consideration and reflection.

So in this season of Lent, we will explore the question “What is salvation?” with the sermon series, Saving Grace: Seven Facets of Salvation, to look at Salvation through seven various biblical lenses:

  • Is it only about an afterlife (i.e., “fire insurance”)?
  • Or does it include an invitation toward living fully in God’s kingdom in this life?
  • Is it a rich and nourishing banquet to which all are invited?
  • Is it the experience of homecoming after a long period of exile?
  • Or is it a tiny light that leads us through darkness?
  • Is it an answer to restoration and healing in the midst of human sinfulness?
  • Or is it opportunity to experience resurrection in the here and now — a grand possibility of eternal life that begins now and extends beyond death?

In our United Methodist understanding, these are facets of salvation, none complete in themselves, but all related in a rich tapestry of understanding of this very complicated Christian tenet.

Helping us distill each of these facets within our own faith tradition, not exclusively in contrast to popular understandings but at least reflected upon with that in mind, will help us expand and clarify this important part of our faith. Oftentimes we don’t really even know what we’re assuming and how that may be leading us in a path that is not helpful. Salvation is Good News. It doesn’t derive its strength from fear, but ultimately from hope. So in this series we would like to unpack and set free or create an environment to explore salvation as it leads us to a more profound experience of God and expression of our faith.

This exploration starts with Ash Wednesday, when we will not only recognize our mortality, but will also remember our baptism. Perhaps this is an odd juxtaposition, but it is nevertheless meaningful to our understanding of salvation — where death and life, despair and hope, all come together in this evening to start us on our journey. Each week a different tenet of salvation will be explored on Sunday morning, with opportunities for a more intimate reflection with others mid-week. Our Wednesday evening offerings will include a quiet meditative time in the Chapel (with Communion), a time of community when we share a meal together, and a chance for study as Dr. Bruster leads us in a thoughtful reflection on the scriptures for the coming Sunday sermons.


Visit our Lent 2016 web page to learn more about the season’s programs and events.

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