Practicing Lent 2015 Week 1 begins here. Or see the menu on the right.
I have a friend who has a saying: start as you intend to go. Thus, if you want a well- behaved dog, train the puppy.
Maybe that is why the gospel reading for this coming Sunday – the first Sunday in Lent – is about Christ’s temptations. Jesus is starting as he intends to go (see Mark 1:9-15).
As John Lewis says in his Ash Wednesday reflection on Jesus’ temptations, “before he goes into the world to carry out God’s mission, Jesus must first define for himself what it means to be the beloved, Spirit-empowered Son of God. He must determine how and under what circumstances he will put this awesome power to use in the service of God.”
Mark’s gospel does not give us the full version of the temptations, but Luke does. In Luke’s narrative we learn that Jesus is offered and rejects three opportunities to use his power for other than God’s purposes. He is setting the trajectory of his three-year public ministry to follow God and only God. He intends to show and live and be the love of God. He will end up on a cross, where he intends to go.
Our prayer book invites us to the observance of a holy Lent “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word” (page 265).
During the next six weeks of Lent, we will look more deeply at prayer, fasting and self-denial, reading and meditating on God’s word, as well as loving our neighbor and connecting with 20th century saints.
We begin on Ash Wednesday by exploring the three temptations of Christ in the wilderness. Then we spend the next few weeks engaging some spiritual practices before ending with a study of Holy Week.
We welcome your feedback and invite your questions and comments.
And in the name of the church, we invite to the observance of a holy Lent by engaging the journey, heading with Christ to the cross and resurrection – where we intend to go.