The Lenten season is here. It is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations. We began our 40-day Lenten journey this past Wednesday when we smeared ashes on our foreheads, with the sign of the cross, to remind us of our own mortality. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial. It’s a time of spiritual introspection or soulful self-examination.
During Lent, many Christians commit to fasting from food or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence. Some may try fasting from TV or technology. Others may try fasting from gossip or worry. Many Christians also add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional, to draw themselves near to God. I hope you will pick up one of the Hyde Park Church devotionals this week found in the Welcome Center or at the ushers table in the Narthex. It’s not too late to start. These have been written by a variety of lay people and pastors.
Lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days which, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent, before beginning his public ministry, fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by the Devil.
We start a new Lenten series this Sunday titled: “Journey with Jesus.” We will focus on “Overcoming Temptation in the Wilderness.” It’s my hope you will join me in worship as we talk about the temptations of Jesus and how we might find ways to overcome these types of temptations ourselves.
Join me in reflecting on this passage about the temptations of Christ from the suggested gospel reading for the first Sunday of Lent found in Luke
4:1-13. It was written by Anne Osdieck.
Gospel Reflection: Luke 1
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days.
Holy Spirit, take us to the desert. Speak straight to our hearts.
Help us fast with Jesus. Smooth out our rough souls.
Give us spiritual quiet, a quick and ready faith.
God, our only nourishment, our energy,
we want to come out of the wilderness, like Jesus,
charged with yourself.
Let this be.