Every first Sunday in Lent, the story of Jesus’ 40-day wilderness stint is told. This year it was told through Mark’s Gospel. The story allows no space between the Father’s post-baptism affirmation and Jesus being practically kicked into the desert. Head still wet, he faced the gaping and treacherous wilderness. This story is always told at Lent’s inception to vaguely match the path we tread with Jesus to the cross. For 40 days, not counting Sundays, from varying levels of engagement, we journey with Jesus.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I am often troubled by the minimal self-denial I allow myself to experience. Perhaps some Lents are felt more deeply than others, but paired with the ultimate endurance test that was only the first 40 days of Jesus’ ministry, I come up dreadfully short.
How about you? When it comes to taking on new spiritual disciplines or self-denial, do you find disappointing deficiencies? Well, I would argue that is the whole point. Do let go of things you find to be stumbling blocks between you and a closer relationship with Jesus. Do take on a discipline if God has called you to that. Do participate in the season of Lent knowing that Lent is less about giving something up to prove our worthiness and more about clearing a space to see Jesus. Friends, when we remove the obstacles, slow down a bit, and look, we’ll notice the painfully beautiful, undeserved reality of Jesus. From every temptation, to thirst, to loneliness, to danger, then to calling disciples, to teaching, to miracles, to death, to resurrection all paralleled with our powerlessness over sin and failed attempts at sticktoittiveness, Jesus succeeds through his deliberate death march to the cross.
This Lent, do prayerfully release the chocolates or daily 7-cup-a-coffee habit (no judgement!). Do take on a new spiritual practice that draws you more fully into the presence of Christ so that you’ll be able to comprehend more fully the sin and death abolishing free gift of Jesus.
With all of that said, as you pray and reflect this Lent, you will likely sense a need to pray for God’s help. On the other hand, we always need prayer for all kinds of circumstances. During the Lenten season, we are offering an extra hour (over and above Sunday morning) of confidential prayer via Zoom on Thursday nights with our trained intercessors. Simply CLICK HERE anytime between 7pm – 8pm on Thursday. This will be a great opportunity to experience God’s power where we are powerless. We hope to see you there!
With you prayerfully in Christ,
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