One of the most moving aspects of the Lenten Season at First Baptist is the moment when we all gather around the cross literally and figuratively in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings. In that time, our hearts are open to God and to one another as we examine ourselves in that ancient Christian practice of confession. Gathered around that old rugged cross, we remember the sacrifice of Christ, the calling we have to follow, and difficulty required to walk in his way of commitment and compassion.

DSC_0612And as we were gathered around the cross this past Sunday, with our second Agape Meal approaching, I was reminded of all the other places Jesus takes us on the way to the cross. See, the way of Jesus does eventually lead to the cross, but it leads so many other places too. It leads to the homes of new followers, captivated by this charismatic Nazarene preaching of radical love. It leads to mountains of Transfiguration, and valleys of distress. The way of Jesus leads to intimate conversations with wondering councilmen, and also to the Temple courts, demanding and demonstrating God’s justice. Jesus leads us to forsake our dreams of grandeur, and instead advocate for people who are without homes, without food, and without resources. Jesus’ footsteps lead us into and out of the wilderness, testing our devotion and compelling us to give up old paradigms. The cross of Christ proclaims not only Jesus’ love in death, but also points us to the love with which he lived.

So this Lenten Season, as we search the innermost parts of our hearts, let’s remember not only Jesus at the cross, but also the other places along the way. The way of Jesus leads to the cross, but it goes through the street. Who will you encounter there? Maybe Jesus himself.

Agape Meal — On our way to the cross this weekend we will go “through the street” as we host our Agape Meal on Sunday, February 2l.  This community dinner serves to build fellowship among our congregation and our community friends.  We will not just serve a meal, but share a meal … so join us as we encounter Jesus around the table.  There will be a brief service of meditation and communion at 4 pm in the Chapel and dinner will be served beginning at 4:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall.  To serve – click here for more information or contact Kim Priddy (Email | x295) or just be present for this fellowship meal together.

Patrick Cardwell is serving in his second year as our Ministry Intern and is also a member of First Baptist Church. He is finishing his 3rd year at Wake Forest Divinity School and will graduate in May.