It’s Lent, the 40 day period leading up to Easter. For some it’s a time of abstinence, giving things up, chocolate, wine, meat or biting your nails. For others it’s a time of renewed prayer, spirituality, hospitality or generosity.
The word Lent is nothing to do with giving up chocolate or facebook – ‘Lent’ is a short version of the Old word ‘lencten’, which means spring, when the days begin to lengthen, and we start the think about new life and fluffy lambs.
Lent started out as a six week period (excluding Sundays) running up to Easter, so originally it was only 36 days long! Lent was extended to 40 days (which is why it begins on Ash Wednesday) to help us remember the time Christ spent in the wilderness – so that is the reading we are going to use for Lent here in Churspacious.
We are going to spend Lent in that desert wilderness with Jesus, and face the monsters, and hopefully learn a bit more about ourselves and God along the way. Here’s some of what is coming up on our Wild journey.
We each have our own times of wilderness testing. Each wilderness experience that comes our way presents us with difficulties and struggles. Times of testing are nothing new, but Covid has perhaps sent us on one of the longest wilderness journeys we’ve taken for a while. Let s think about what we might be learning in this wild and isolated place.
Mark’s gospel tells us that there were wild beasts in the wilderness with Jesus.
Sometimes our wilderness times are complete with wild beasts and we all need to be alert for them. We probably don’t need to be that worried about Lions and Tigers and Bears (oh my) – but there are other sorts of wild beasts and monsters in our wilderness.
Monsters push our pressure points, monsters like Anxiety and Grief are our companions in the wilderness, and sometimes we don’t like to talk about them, but mental health is important, and I hope as we walk in the wilderness together, we can think about how to look after ourselves when the monsters get frustrating. Lets talk about Mental Health and Wellbeing as we walk.
This year we are thinking about communication. Each week in Lent we will use our passage to think about the errors we make in communicating sometimes, and how perhaps we might try to be better communicators.
Thought and speech are God’s gifts to creatures made in His image; these are intimately associated with Him and impossible apart from Him. (A.W. Tozer)
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the adversary took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the adversary took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Then the adversary left him, and angels came and attended him.