“The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” Mark 1:15 (NLT)

This verse sums up both the Gospel of Mark and the idea behind the season of Lent. The word Gospel is our English word for “good news.” Mark’s account of Jesus is all about the announcement of the Kingdom of God. This kingdom was promised through the prophets of the Old Testament and calls for repentance – a change of heart, a turning from our old ways to embrace Jesus’ new way – kingdom living.

For many years, churches have spoken of the Gospel in very limited terms: peace with God, going to heaven, being “saved.” While these are all part of the good news of the kingdom, they are not the whole picture. God is restoring all things in Jesus – the good news is that God’s shalom is possible through Jesus (right relationship with God, our fellow humans, and the creation)!

During this season of Lent we will be looking at what it means to become followers of Jesus. What does Jesus want us to know and do as people who are part of his kingdom? What is this kingdom like? How do you enter it? How do you remain in it? How do you invite others into it? As we learn together we will be thinking especially about sharing this good news with others who haven’t yet heard it. Our prayer is that in hearing Jesus’ story in a fresh way, we will be emboldened to embrace his kingdom and to invite others to join us in seeking it out.