Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Welcome to worship as we celebrate the First Sunday in Lent. Notice the word ‘in’ rather than ‘of’. The Sundays during Lent are not calculated in the 40 days of Lent. They are in every sense Feast Days amidst what is a season of reflection, penitence, fasting and prayer. Would that be true of most of us as we live in this whirlwind of modern life.
Like the temptations Jesus faces in today’s gospel of security, power and affection, maybe we face the temptation at times of giving up or at least giving in. “It’s all too hard,” can be a common catch-cry. Lent though perhaps can teach us that what we need to do during our short time-frame amidst the massive expanse of time. We can persevere. If we become too distracted in our daily prayers, don’t give up, keep trying. When we become disillusioned, don’t just give-up but work out how we can be part of the process of change.
And yes, it can be very easy to be disillusioned today with all that has surfaced from the past and sometimes how it is being handled still in the present. An important realisation in all of this is that Jesus too face being disillusioned. The Scriptures tell us he faced the temptations that we face, yet without sin (an interesting thought to explore!). Yet even in facing that Jesus persevered until the end. He set out with a purpose of bringing about reconciliation between people and with God. The journey of Lent can join us to Christ and to be a continuing part of the purpose he came and sought to bring about.
May we journey well with Christ this week.
(First Sunday in Lent Pew Sheet)
Rev Cannon Ian Howarth is the Rector of the Anglican Parish of St Paul's Kyneton and St John's Malmsbury and is the team leader of the Central Highlands Cluster.