Week 1: February 7-13
God creates us from the overflow of the love that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit experience in each other. He then places us in a stunningly beautiful world that he created for us, and trusts us with it. Much to the astonishment of the known universe, we quickly decide we can’t trust him to care for us, and turn inward, choosing to trust only in ourselves. Evil ensues.
Week 2: February 14-20
God sets out to overcome our evil with his goodness. He invites us to partner with him: trust me, he says. Follow me. And some people do. There are wonderful moments of trust and we get to see how evil can be overcome by goodness. But it all falls apart eventually, because we simply aren’t able to stay faithful. God then covenants with us that he will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He himself will come to us in the Messiah – the chosen one, the Anointed one. He himself will be the faithful one, through whom God’s mission of overcoming evil with good will be accomplished.
Week 3: February 21-27
The Messiah shows up, about 2000 years ago, in Israel. He turns out, quite unexpectedly, to be a construction worker from Nazareth named Jesus. Nothing about him fits our expectations, even though everything about him rings true to the prophecies made about the Messiah. He invites us to trust him, to trust God… to follow him into death, if that is the cost of faithfulness, trusting God to raise us up. Jesus remains faithful to the end in the power of the Holy Spirit, and is put to a brutal death by crucifixion. God the Father, faithful to his Son, raises him up from the dead. The resurrected Messiah, Jesus, has overcome evil by taking it all upon himself and returning goodness instead – and invites us to trust him, and follow him, and take this good news of forgiveness to all the world.
Week 4: February 28-March 5
We who do trust him – even if hesitantly and with many doubts along the way – turn out to be the beginning of a whole new creation empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome evil with love. We who trust him are now no longer defined by the evil we have done, but rather by what God has done for us in Jesus, and is doing in and through us through the Spirit of Jesus. In Jesus, there are astonishing things now true about us as we trust and follow him, and we are invited to accept, internalize and live from our new identity. The old is done away with, the new has come.
Week 5: March 6-12
Because we are now the people of God, formed by what God has done for us in Jesus, we are invited to lay aside the patterns of life that characterized our old identity – distrust, unfaithfulness, self-centeredness, anger, hatred, violence, pride, jealousy, deception… all those things that flow from a heart that is unable to trust God, that is unwilling to trust anyone else. We are invited to live as those who have trusted God and have found him comprehensively trustworthy in Jesus. God’s own Holy Spirit is given to us to give us the capacity to live as true Jesus-people. We are invited to lay down our self-protective defenses, and deepen in our trust in God, our love for him and our love for each other.
Week 6: March 13-19
We are then invited into a life of mission: of partnering with our Messiah Jesus in fulfilling the task that God began in Abraham. In Jesus, we have been astonishingly graced with unconditional love, forgiveness, and healing, in order that we may turn around and grace the world around us with love, and forgiveness, and healing. We are sent to take the message – and the reality – of God’s great salvation accomplished for us in his Messiah Jesus to every child, woman and man on the earth, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Week 7: March 20-26
This mission, this mandate, this invitation to be the Jesus-people bringing the Jesus-life to all creation must flow from a community that actually lives the Jesus-life. We are invited to enter with Jesus into the places of great evil and pain and grief and brokenness around us, and bring love, and hope, and healing, and forgiveness, and grace… partnering with God to fulfill his mission of redeeming the world, overcoming evil with goodness, and restoring all creation. And so we follow along as joyful pilgrims waiting for, working toward, and hastening the day that will surely come, when the goodness and the glory of our amazing God will comprehensively cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.