God's Unconditional Love Demonstrated through His Son's Cross
OA churches and ministries will offer Ash Wednesday Service to commence the Lenten period of 2019. In this season, Christians enter into another profound time of the liturgical year after Christmas to meditate on the theme of Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Churches take part in special Bible Studies that illuminate the Lord's suffering and love.
Congregants are called to remember God's unconditional love demonstrated through His Son's cross. With repentance and prayer, believers also participate in this forty-day path to be renewed in knowing God's love more deeply.
Suffering is a centerpiece of the Christian message that continually brings people to see the Lord's death on the Cross. Apostle Paul wrote that children of God should "share in his sufferings" in order that they can share "in his glory". (Romans 8:17)
Believers are called to meditate on the true meaning of suffering and its reason. The Lord said: "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) It is suffering that the Lord voluntarily took in love to give his life as sacrifice for others.
In the life of Jesus, love is not an abstract concept for logic or philosophy. It is a sincere act of "laying down one's own life": Sacrifice. At the climax of this sacrifice lies the Cross where Jesus shed his blood and suffered for sinners. The Cross, on which the Lord became a flawless sacrifice, demonstrated what true love is to the whole world -- a world that could have been left in ignorance and darkness.
The path of the Cross until Resurrection calls every believer in this Lenten season to ponder how much sacrifice the Lord had borne and how much sacrifice we are ready to bear to follow the Lord.
You Know Your Labor in the Lord is Not in Vain
Before a call to follow Jesus, Christians sometimes hopelessly withdraw and step back like two disciples going back to Emmaus. The turning point when they opened their eyes and saw the Lord of resurrection came when they participated in breaking bread, an action that signifies breaking of Lord's own sacrificed body. The passage in Luke 24 tells us that taking part in suffering is the way for believers to see the Lord who stands in the glory of resurrection.
This endlessly deep and profound message of death and life, cross and resurrection, suffering and glory, should let us fully fathom the core message of salvation in the time of Lent.
The Lenten messages proclaim, "At the end of the Cross, there lies a brilliant world of resurrection. Likewise, the suffering of the righteous secures the reward of the glory God grants."
It is a special time that allows churches to gain the greatest power and strength of resurrection.
The Apostle's encouragement resonates throughout the entire period of churches' meditation on suffering: Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain!