first week of lent
Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Jesus was in the desert for forty days and forty nights and during that time the devil tempted him. I read this as the devil (was) actually taunting him to turn rocks into bread; to throw himself from the parapet of the temple; to prostrate himself before the devil and worship him. But Jesus never wavered or gave in to these three temptations. His response was to reject these “offerings” with a stern, “Get away from me, Satan! The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone.”
As we approach the first week of Lent we are asked to avoid our own personal temptations by the sacrifice of fasting. Fasting is a powerful spiritual discipline that, with prayer, brings about change. Change within ourselves as well as those for whom we pray. The Holy Spirit reveals to us our true spiritual condition when we fast.
Fasting is not always about giving up our favorite foodstuffs but in denying ourselves those things which affect us on a daily basis. Limiting watching television programs or the frequent use of computers can free us to spend time in reading and contemplating the Scriptures.
We are called in this season of Lent to give thanks for all that we are and for all that we have by acknowledging our sinfulness with profound sorrow. Jesus suffered for us because of his unconditional and limitless love. As we experience this love, let it lead us to deep gratitude and to a desire to love as we have been loved.
Loving God, we do not live by bread alone but from every word that comes from you. Jesus remained steadfast in his love of you. His reply to the devil teaches us not to succumb to wordly pleasures but to seek you in all things. Amen.
SSJ Associate Marti Michael