ONE WEEK INTO LENT
The gospel reading from last Sunday set us on the Lenten journey after Jesus’ model.
Luke tells us that the Spirit of the Lord led Jesus into the wilderness
immediately after his baptism by John in the Jordan.
Other gospels say the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness.
So? Baptism isn’t an invitation into rest and respite.
Baptism has strings…not just entitlement, but implications, challenges, and ongoing choices.
And the choices, challenges, and implications come for Jesus over 40 days in the wilderness.
Like the Hebrews wandering for 40 years in their trek toward the Promised Land,
and Moses 40 days on Mount Sinai,
the number 40 is that Biblical number for “a long time.”
For the Bible writers, “a long time” of wandering results in renewal and rethinking,
getting reminders of our call and encouragement for the focus of our future.
In the wilderness experience of Jesus,
the Tempter presented really good alternatives for Jesus’ mission and ministry.
Jesus was offered the chance to do eye-catching, breathtaking feats of miracles
by which he would claim the fame that would bring him quick success.
In all three cases, Jesus recalled those moments in Israel’s past
when they had chosen the quick way and lived to regret it.
And in all three cases, Jesus chose the path of greatest resistance and
walked away from instant gratification toward the more difficult path of “God’s time.”
During this “long time” of Lent,
what are the voices calling us to do that will get our name up in lights?
what are the voices calling us to do to seize the power of the day?
what are the voices calling us to do to claim God’s promises for rescue?
Will our decisions bring the glory to us or to God?
Will they reach far into the future of God’s kingdom and church or just take care of today?
Will they be self-serving or offer the love of God to others…
those we know and love…
even those we don’t know…those we perhaps fear….?
The 40 days (years) God’s people have spent in the past give us models
for the 40 days (years) we are called to spend during Lent or a lifetime of Lents.
During this Lenten journey, let us listen to the voices holding out options for our lives.
Let us discern the voice of God in whom we are baptized.
Let us avail ourselves of the voice of God who guides us in our decisions
and sends angels to minister to us in the wilderness and after our homecoming.