|Collect of The First Sunday in Lent.|
|Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness;|
|and was tempted as we are, yet without sin;|
|Give us grace to discipline ourselves|
|in obedience to your Spirit;|
|and, as you know our weakness,|
|so may we know your power to save:|
|through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen|
|Genesis 2; 15-17, 3; 1-7|
|Romans 5; 12-19|
|Matthew 4; 1-11|
After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he (Jesus) was hungry v 2
As a spiritual discipline the longest I have voluntarily fasted is 24 hours – and midway I get an overwhelming urge to give up- to abandon my commitment- and to give in. ‘After all, who will know or care?’ I ask myself. In fact I know some will say, ‘Don’t be so daft- you will do yourself damage!’ All these thoughts go round and round in my head, convincing me to stop – after only 12 hours!
What thoughts went through Jesus’ mind as he disciplined himself to endure 40 days and nights?
Jesus was voluntarily submitting himself to spiritual discipline, submitting himself completely to the will of God, submitting himself to his Father.
I have no doubt that it could not have been easy – Jesus must have moved beyond hunger- but such was his desire to come closer to his heavenly Father – he willingly underwent this period of fasting.
And it becomes clear that during this desert experience his intention and resolve to put God first in his life and follow the way of God becomes even more crystallized.
Is there a spiritual discipline you or I can undertake this Lent to draw us closer to God?
Can we share in the experience of Jesus as he affirms -
‘Man cannot live by bread alone’ – our spiritual appetites must be nourished as well as our bodies.
‘Do not put the Lord to the test’- even when there are unanswered questions trust that God is in control.
‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’- many things will compete for first place in our lives- squeezing God out. Beware of this, it can happen so insidiously. Resolve to put God first.
Prayer- Lord God, create in us a desire to move more deeply into your presence. There are times in our lives when we want to possess more and more, times when we are fearful and not trusting, times when we turn our back on you. Forgive us, O Lord, our weaknesses and restore us. We ask that your Holy Spirit will guard and protect us from all that would draw us away from you and your love. Amen
|Collect- The Sunday before Lent|
|Almighty Father, whose Son was revealed in majesty|
|before he suffered death upon the cross;|
|give us grace to perceive his glory, that we may be strengthened to suffer with him|
|and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory;|
|who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,|
|one God, now and forever. Amen|
|2 Peter 1: 16-21|
|Matthew 17: 1-9|
“But Jesus came and touched them saying “Get up and do not be afraid.” V 7
So often Jesus had to reassure his disciples to not be afraid. They had fallen to the ground and were overcome by fear- in other words terrified! They had witnessed something different to their normal routine - and couldn’t quite grasp what it all meant.
Jesus and his disciples went up a mountain together and while there a change overcame Jesus. The change deeply disturbs the disciples – they are not sure is this Jesus the Jesus they know. Then everything went back to ‘normal’- or did it? Jesus and his disciples left and walked back down the mountain together.
When change of any kind confronts us we can be overcome by fear- we may not fall to the ground but we may feel as if our world is collapsing around us. Even when the changes are good - we cannot go back to where we were. A new ‘normal’ has been created.
Whatever changes are in store for us Jesus promises to walk with us- in the change, through the change and beyond the change.
Change can be a catalyst for transformation and new growth- we ask Jesus that we do not be afraid.
To be afraid is not wrong- but in our fear may we always keep looking to you, our Rock, Redeemer and Strength. Amen