For the season of Lent this year, we will be following along with the Disciples Home Missions (DHM) Lenten Resource. The complete booklet and previous DHM resources can be downloaded at https://www.discipleshomemissions.org/congregations/faith-formationchristian-education/resources/lent/
Below is the meditation and reflection questions for week one.
What’s in a Name?
Week One: Unboxing Jesus
March 6th - 12th
In the time of Jesus and well before, a name meant plenty. It built a narrative about a person that one could not develop by simply looking at them. Names are sometimes a story, a hope, an answer, or prophecy. We call Jesus by many names. The biblical writers offer us ample descriptions for our Beloved. Depending on our congregational upbringing, we may only be in the practice of hearing or referring to the “popular” names of Jesus. Like in most families, we have formal names and nicknames. In the church, it can be easy to nickname Jesus and in doing so, there is a risk we box him in. There are endless life-giving attributes we can attach to Jesus. Those found in the bible and in our lived experiences are ripe for more circulation in our meditations and community conversations. It is fair to say Jesus is much more than any of us have understood him to be.
In Matthew 16:13-15, Jesus asked his friends two important questions. Both had significance, but one question was essential to their faith as individuals and as a community. The first question tells us Jesus knows how impressionable surrounding narratives are: “Who do the people say that the Son of Man is?” It is helpful to know how Jesus is perceived outside of familiar space. Such insight today informs our approaches to caring for others and how we introduce Christ as a viable spiritual foundation. While this knowledge aids us, it is not the final say. How others perceive(d) Jesus is not conclusive, meaning it establishes no widespread certainty. The second question is intimate and conclusive in how the disciples will govern their lives: “But who do you say that I am?” Significantly more relevant to their shared ministry, Jesus wanted them to process their faith—to arrive at their own conclusions about him. In these verses of scripture, Jesus’ paramount concern was their spiritual interior. Following his leadership model of inquiry, we offer you this crucial question for Lenten devotion and beyond. Who do you say that Jesus is? Unbox your response. Who is Jesus in your life? Unbox that too. We are students of his way. Calling ourselves Christian is a commitment learning, bearing witness, and living what we say about Jesus.
Author: Rev. Monique Crain Spells
Director of Christian Education & Faith Formation
Disciples Home Missions and National Convocation
Week One: Reflections
- Considering your ashes and daily affirmations (on page 5,) how were you refreshed by Jesus this week?
- Where do you see similarities between yourself and Jesus?
- How would you like to be more like Jesus?
- When did you experience Jesus through others this week?