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First Friday

LISTEN

READ
2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10

CONTEMPLATE
Welcome to Lent meditation and worship with Westside church. During this Lenten season, meet us here each day as we read scripture, worship and rest in the presence of God together. Know that as you listen today, you are doing so with others whether in the same space as you or not, and we pray that the Holy Spirit permeates the places we each find ourselves in right now. 

Let us start today by clearing our minds and opening our hearts and minds to what the Lord wants to speak to us through His word today. Take a deep breath in and out. And another in and out.

Even with Lent being this season of self-reflection and sacrifice, it’s important to remember that we are not doing this alone. We are doing this together as followers of Jesus. You have people on either side of you to journey along-with.

It is easy to get caught in the ways of the world and focus solely on ourselves and think that this process of repentance and reflection is just about us. Yes, self-reflection and taking a look at our own wronged ways is a big part of it. But inside of all this internal gazing, we can’t forget that our lives are continually intersecting with others.

It is a practice of Lent to give something up from Ash Wednesday to Easter. I want to challenge you this year, to instead, add something into your routine. Something that will still be a challenge and sacrifice for you but that will add value to someone around you. Find a team to volunteer with at church. Take that one person at work that really gets under your skin to lunch or coffee. Volunteer at a nonprofit. Go have coffee with that lonely neighbor or friend.

In the practice of adding something in to our lives, it gives us a reminder of who we are, the effect our choices (both good and bad) have on others, and gives us an opportunity to live out the mission set before us. To show the grace of God to others and give them opportunity to reconcile themselves to God.

2 Corinthians 5 reminds us of what we are called to do in this life and to not take it lightly. Even though we find ourselves in the crosshairs of the enemy, we can live in the fullness of life with Christ and call others into that life as well.

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10
God has given us a charge to carry through our lives—urging all people on behalf of the Anointed to become reconciled to the Creator God. He orchestrated this: the Anointed One, who had never experienced sin, became sin for us so that in Him we might embody the very righteousness of God.

As for those of us working as His emissaries, we beg you not to take the grace of God lightly. For God says through Isaiah,

When the time was right, I listened to you;
    and that day you were delivered, I was your help.

Look, now the time is right! See, your day of deliverance is here! We are careful in what we teach so that our words won’t be a stumbling block and so that no one will discredit our ministry. But as God’s servants, we commend ourselves in every situation. So that with great endurance we persevere even in anguish and hardship. We have been cornered by the enemy suffering beatings, imprisonments, uproars, toil, sleeplessness, and starvation. And by the Holy Spirit with purity, understanding, patience, kindness, and sincerest love we have proved ourselves. Now with the voice of truth and power of God—armed on the right and armed on the left with righteousness from God—we continue. Whether respected or loathed, praised or criticized as frauds, yet true, as unknown to this world, and yet well known to God, we serve Him. We are treated as dying and yet we live, as punished and yet we are not executed. Though we are sorrowful, we continually rejoice. As the poorest of the poor, we bring richness to all, and though we have nothing, we possess all things.

What will you do over these next 7 weeks to bring heaven to earth? To bring life to someone and let them know they are seen and loved by our great God? Write it down. Make a plan. Don’t let this opportunity to be used by Jesus pass you by.

PRAY
Righteous God,
in humility and repentance
we bring our failures in caring, helping, and loving,
we bring the pain we have caused others,
we bring the injustice on society of which we are a part,
to the transforming power of your grace.
Grant us the courage to accept the healing you offer
and to turn again toward the sunrise of your reign,
that we may walk with you in the promise of peace
You have willed for all the children of the earth,
and have made known to us in Christ Jesus. Amen.

WRITE and DISCUSS

  1. What does it mean to “persevere through anguish and hardship?
  2. Write a few words about what has stuck with you so far this week? What do you keep coming back to to meditate on or contemplate from the scriptures so far?
  3. What is the thing you will be adding into your routine for this season of Lent? Write it down somewhere you will see it everyday and tell a friend or even invite a friend to join you!