Sunday 13 March 2011

Bible Book:

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished." (vv. 1-2)

Matthew 4:1-11 Sunday 13 March 2011


The inspiration for our journey through Lent is Jesus being ledby the Spirit into the wilderness. It was an outward, physicaljourney into the evocative landscape of the desert - a time oftrial and testing requiring every ounce of Jesus' resolve andfaithfulness. But also an inward journey - facing down the demonsthat would repeatedly confront Jesus during his ministry.

Lent probably won't take us out into a physical wilderness. Butclearly it does offer us the opportunity for an inward journey -for giving, praying, fasting, penitence, self-examination,self-denial, reading and meditating on God's word - a time ofpreparation for the events of Christ's passion, death andresurrection.

None of these disciplines is an end in itself. They help us tore-centre ourselves, to re-focus on what is truly important, tore-order our priorities, to repent; to turn away from that whichdistracts us and deflects us. There is a recognition here that whatgoes on in the hearts and minds of human beings has a directbearing on the way we live - and on the direction in which theworld moves.

If Lent drives us inward, then hopefully it is in order to renewour energy and commitment towards others. If Lent confronts us withour own sinfulness and weakness, then hopefully it is in order toreassure us of God's forgiveness, and to reinvigorate us with thepower of resurrection - a power that can transform the world aroundus!

Thomas Merton, the American Trappist monk ofthe last century put it like this:

"Far from being essentially opposed to each other, interiorcontemplation and external activity are two aspects of the samelove of God ... Contemplation is the spring - and action is thestream. If prayer is not itself deep, powerful and pure, and filledat all times with the spirit of contemplation, Christian action cannever really reach this high level."

To Ponder

What plans do you have for your journey throughLent? How will you use this opportunity for an inward journey andmake it as meaningful as possible?

How might you build into your busy everyday lifeopportunities for contemplation?

What can we learn from the way Jesus handles thetemptations which confront him in the wilderness?

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