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Remembering the work of the Cross

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (NIV) So from now on we do not consider anyone according to merely human criteria. Although we used to know Christ in this way, we no longer know him in this way. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, the new has come! All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting its sins against it and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are Christ's ambassadors, as if God were exhorting you through us: "In the name of Christ we beseech you to be reconciled to God". To him who committed no sin, for our sake God treated him as a sinner, so that in him we might receive the righteousness of God.
Lent is one of my favorite times on the church calendar because of the journey in which we participate. It is a time of reflection, prayer and remembering the work of the cross. The beginning is marked by Ash Wednesday where we remember that from dust we came and to dust we shall return. We walk through Holy Week where we remember Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, we remember Good Friday, and we reflect on the silence of Holy Saturday. All of culminates in the celebration of Jesus' triumph over death through the resurrection and his ascension to the Father's side.

We can celebrate Jesus' victory over death and sin and are invited to participate in God's reconciling work in the world. God makes us a new creation and we can declare God's triumph. He also gives us a new way of knowing and interacting with the world. In 2 Corinthians, Paul shows how his understanding of the world has changed and how he has been renewed by the reconciling work of Jesus on the cross. We too have been made new and can declare Christ's victory and have been made righteous. However, it is not by our works or what we do that we are made new. We are invited to participate in God's reconciling work in the world because of God's deep love, care, and desire to be in relationship with us. Lent is a reminder that God's love is beyond our comprehension and that He loves us right where we are.

Archbishop Oscar Romero declared in his sermon on the Fifth Sunday of Lent in 1980 "Easter is a cry of victory! No one can extinguish that life which Christ resurrected. Not even death and hatred against Him and against His Church will be able to overcome Him. He is the victor! Just as He will flourish in an Easter of resurrection without end, so too it is necessary to accompany Him in Lent, in a Holy Week that is cross, sacrifice, martyrdom." Journeying through Lent is not only a time of reflection, but prepares us to joyfully declare the triumph of which we are a part thanks to Jesus. Let us remember God's love this Lenten season to declare: "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest."
Rev. Karla Stevenson Doctoral Student, Fuller Theological Seminary HTI Scholar 2021-2022

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