We were in the midst of Lent in 2020 when the Pandemic hit our nation. Our first Sunday ‘apart’ was March 15th – the 3rd Sunday in Lent. It started a journey of learning for us – a new way of worshipping the Lord. There was talk back then of possibly being back together for Easter on April 12th – but of course, that never happened. As we progressed, we learned new things: what Facebook Live was, how to get the worship service to the people, how to make music come alive virtually. Reality is it looks like Lent and Easter in 2021 may be a bit better – but pretty unlikely we’ll be back to the ‘way it was’ this Easter. But Lent still arrives – On Ash Wednesday – February 17th – and continues all the way up to Easter on April 4th. The tradition of Lent begins with Jesus being in the wilderness for 40 days – TEMPTED by Satan. Temptation is something Lent implores us to look at – in our own lives, and in the life of the church.
I’d love to get together more quickly – have a huge Easter celebration – pretend like everything is back too normal. That’s my temptation right now. We all face temptation in life. James reminds us to stay strong when we are tempted – specifically because of Easter – GOD WILL REWARD THEM WITH LIFE FOREVER! That doesn’t mean that temptation is easy to overcome. Temptation is only mentioned a few times in the New Testament (no references in the Old!). Of course, it is used in the prayer Jesus taught his disciples: “Lead us not into temptation” – when Jesus was in the wilderness before beginning his earthly ministry – and right before his arrest and crucifixion as he warned the sleeping disciples ‘not to fall into temptation – the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak’. During Lent and through Easter we will be looking at Luke’s Gospel leading up to the Resurrection – to the gift of LIFE FOREVER!
Portia Nelson wrote a piece entitled: AUTOBIORGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS – here is how it reads! “Chapter One. I walk down the street. The is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost – I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. Chapter Two. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place, but it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out. Chapter Three. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in – it’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately. Chapter Four. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. Chapter Five. I walk down another street.”
Not keeping our eyes on Jesus will cause us to fall into temptation. When we let the Lord open the eyes of our hearts, we will see the one we should follow. In this strange journey we are on together – let us turn our eyes upon Jesus this Lent. Not that we won’t fall – but we will be following the one who will lead us in the right direction.
Join us on our Lenten journey – from home, or at church, or in prayer! Just love God in the journey and you will reach your destination!
In Jesus’ Love – Pastor Dan