The Baptist Center for Ethics and the Baptist World Alliance are partnering to produce a free Lenten Bible study curriculum unit to help global Baptists on their 40-day walk toward Easter.
“Lent is a time for reflection, repentance and renewing of our faith,” said Robert Parham, executive director of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />BaptistCenter for Ethics. “It’s also a time for Baptists in wealthy and powerful communities to remember their Baptist kin who suffer from poverty, injustice and violence.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
“Remembering them for 40 days will keep us from a privatistic faith and strengthen our resolve to pray for and seek justice for the global community during the season of Lent,” Parham said.
Historically, relatively few Baptists have observed the Christian tradition known as Lent, but that has begun to shift. Openness toward the liturgically centered season of Lent increased as more Baptists experienced positive celebrations during Advent to counter to secular and materialistic observances of Christmas.
The 40 days of Lent correspond symbolically to biblical events in which the number 40 had special importance. Moses and the freed Hebrew slaves spent 40 years on the way to the Promised Land. Elijah spent 40 days in the wilderness. Jesus prayed and fasted for 40 days.
The eight-week Bible study, designed for use in Sunday school, will guide adults through the season of Lent with special emphasis on the witness and work of global Baptists.
Beginning with the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, the weekly studies will challenge Baptists to reflect on God’s history of deliverance; repent from self-centered and self-sufficient living; reaffirm their dependence upon God; and recommit to walking the life of faith.
“What better way to prepare our hearts for Easter—both the agony of the crucifixion and the victory of the Resurrection—than to contemplate the amazing work of God’s Spirit in peoples’ lives around the world today despite their human context of persecution, suffering, disease and material deprivation,” said Alan Stanford, general secretary for the North American Baptist Fellowship, a regional body of the BWA.
Lesson writers are BWA leaders and active supporters. They include: Martin Accad, dean, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary; Daniel Carro, professor of divinity, John Leland Center; Dina Carro, member of the BWA study and research executive committee; Randy Hyde, pastor, Pulaski Heights Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark.; Emmanuel McCall, vice president, BWA; Paul Montacute, director, Baptist World Aid; Carla Nelson, education consultant, Canadian Baptist Ministries; Parush Parushev, professor, International Baptist Theological Seminary; and Craig Sherouse, pastor, First Baptist Church in Griffin, Ga.
Student and leader guides will be available online at www.ethicsdaily.com by Jan. 22. The first lesson is designed to be used on Feb. 18.
Funding for the curriculum unit is made possible in part by a gift from Jersey Village Baptist Church in Houston.