A few weeks back I joined a ladies Bible study that meets weekly at an area church. Having been raised in church first as a preacher’s kid and now as a pastor’s wife (going on twelve years!) I freely admit that I was hesitant at best and skeptical at worst. Mainly because through the years I have seen how ladies “Bible studies” can quickly descend into a complaint session about husbands, children and life in general or be an exercise in emotionally manipulative me and Jesus naval gazing.
This BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) has been pleasantly refreshing. Our small group leader is really good at keeping us on track and has shown that albeit gently, she will question positions or thoughts that get shared that may not be very clear. What I have also really enjoyed is the lecture time. The woman who leads that aspect of our weekly time does so in a very non preachy manner and I don’t feel like she is trying to elicit a particular response from me.
All in all it has been really good for me and I am enjoying studying Scripture in a way that I haven’t before. It’s on the book of John (which was the final push for me to join since Rob was beginning a new sermon series on that same book.) The group had already been meeting for a while so I picked up in chapter twelve and I am pleased with how the time line is flowing naturally with the church calendar.
Today we begin a new season on the Church calendar, that of Lent. We’re basically toddlers interacting with this particular time frame. We’re still coming to an understanding of what it is and how we participate in it. As today has drawn closer (Ash Wednesday is the first day of the Lenten season) I’ve been spending time considering this time of preparation for Easter. It’s a time that we remember the darkness that the Light came to dispel and how much we needed that Light.
John chapter 13 has been coming to my mind again and again. Two parts in particular. The first is the beautiful imagery we see when Jesus washed the disciples feet.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments…
Up to this point Christ, who has existed in perfect union of fellowship with The Father and the Spirit, would empty Himself and take on the full weight of mankind’s sin and feel the full wrath of God
and taking a towel, tied it around His waist…
He who was perfect and eternal took on flesh.
Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him…
How can one read that and not immediately be reminded of the blood and water pouring from his side as He hung on the cross? How can we not be reminded that we are washed in the water of the Word and then remember that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us?
The other thing that really stands out to me is a conversation Jesus has after telling the disciples that one of them would betray Him.
The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom He spoke…So that disciple, leaning back on Jesus, said to Him, Lord, who is it?
They simply had no idea who among them was the betrayer. And this astounds me because Jesus did. He knew what Judas was going to do but He treated Judas just like the other disciples to the point that they had no clue who was going to turn away. They were utterly clueless.
And I realize how quick I am to let my annoyance show over even the slightest offense, real or imagined. How easy it must be for everybody to know when I am upset and why I am upset and who I am upset with.
As the Lenten season begins it is clear just how much I need Good Friday. And how incredibly humbled I am by Resurrection Sunday.