It seems like yesterday we were pulling out our Advent wreath, lighting the candles and watching a wooden Mary with her swollen womb make her way around the wreath as we counted down to Christmas. And now we are just over a week away from the start of Lent. This weekend, we will once again pull out the oak wreath, this time preparing to trace the Ascension, Christ’s journey to the cross and resurrection. We will exchange the wooden Mary for the wooden silhouette of Christ with the cross upon His back. We will add another loop on the wreath to mark the forty days of Lent.
As I start to think about Lent one passage of Scripture, a favorite passage, keeps ringing in my ears–Philippians 2:5-11.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
During the hardest nights of my life, I have whispered that verse into the darkness. When I could feel the enemy wrap his spiny, death-laced fingers around my heart, I would say this verse out loud knowing there is one name that is above every name, the name of Jesus Christ. For someone who struggles so often not feeling good enough, my favorite name for Christ is Redeemer. He bought me. He humbled himself, allowed himself to be beaten and mocked, gave up His reputation and His very life, stretched out His arms and poured out His blood to save a wretch like me. For the rest of my days, I hope I never get over that. I hope those words mess me up, bring tears to my eyes and leave me in a heap at the feet of my Savior.
And while we celebrate Easter once a year, Easter happens every day–every day that I live in freedom instead of bondage, every day that I live in grace instead of chains, every day that I live in hope instead of despair. I listen to Louie Giglio a lot when I run and he says one thing over and over. The gospel message isn’t that I was bad and now I’m good. The gospel message is that I was dead and now I’m alive. I am alive because my Redeemer lives.
This Friday, February 28th, the movie Son of God releases in theaters. The movie was produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the same couple who produced The Bible series for television. Matt and I are looking forward to seeing the movie as we walk through Lent this year. I have been given two additional movie tickets to give away to one of my readers. You read that my favorite name for Christ is Redeemer. To be in the drawing for the two tickets to the Son of God movie, all you need to do is leave a comment sharing your favorite name for Christ. Leave your comment before midnight Thursday, February 27th. I’ll announce the winner Friday morning, February 28th. The tickets can be redeemed at participating movie theaters all over the country. I hope the images we see will prick our hearts and pierce our souls as we walk through Lent, a visual reminder of the life we’ve been given.