Lenten Journey

Matthew 4:1-11

We are a church of seasons, Lent is a season of instruction, penitence, and inward learning. We always read of Jesus' temptation today whether it is from Matthew, Mark, or Luke depends on the year we are in. Our church year started back in Advent with awaiting Jesus coming, as a babe or coming again. Then there is Christmas the shortest season we have which is only one or two weeks depending on January 6, which marks the coming of the wise men and the start off Epiphany. We finish Epiphany the season of ordinary time, or learning about being a disciple, and go right into Lent where we start off the service with the confession of our sins. Forty days later is Easter season where there is no confession in the service, then fifty days later is Pentecost and the birth of the church, which brings us into the longest season of ordinary time.

When we start the service with confession and then this reading from Matthew about Jesus' temptation we naturally go to the easiest conclusion, which is to be perfect, or not to be tempted and if we fall into temptation then there must be something wrong with us. This is not the point at all. Jesus' temptation shows us he was willing to come and be like us. He doesn't just face this temptation today and is done with it. There are more to come where the crowd wants to crown him king, where Peter proclaims him Messiah and tells him he must not die, where they mock him on the cross and tell him to save himself. See it is not found in being perfect like Christ.

Instead this scripture reminds us of the season of Lent. Led into the wilderness by the Spirit for forty days and nights. Have you felt led by the Spirit yet this Lent. Lent traditionally is the time we give something up or go to a new spiritual practice in order to become attuned to God. For forty days we try to come to a better understanding of ourselves and our belief in God. This is truly in keeping with this season. Some of the suggestions for this Lenten season is to give up our indifference to one another from Pope Francis. Another has been 40 bags, 40 days to get rid of something you don't need and give it away, putting these items in a bag each day. Another is a poster of introspection give up failure, retirement, loneliness, etch. Each one different for each day of Lent.

A time for instruction. A time for thoughtfulness. A time for contemplation. Its just a different time for us to explore faith intentionally, openly, with our God.