OUR LENTEN GOAL, THE PROMISED LAND
March 8, 2019 | Pastor's Corner
Many people view Lent negatively, as a time of deprivation and denial. The First Sunday of Lent each year is always about the story of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness. This year we hear the story of Jesus’ temptation from the gospel of Luke. Luke’s version follows Jesus’ baptism where Jesus is lead into the wilderness by the spirit. Jesus experiences the same trials his ancestors face in their forty years in the wilderness from slavery to the Promise Land. Sometimes we forget that our goal is the Promised Land, a life cleansed and renewed.
The people in the desert struggled to remain faithful to God when faced with hunger, the gods of other nations, and risky situations. In the gospel we hear how the devil tempted Jesus with good things. It is good to eat when we are hungry. It is good to have the authority to bring about change. It is good to be protected from danger. Jesus refuses to accept these from the devil and doubt or test his relationship with God.
Today’s gospel reminds us that Lent is a time to become more solidly grounded in our faith. Making more time for prayer and Scripture, fasting from things in our lives that keep us from giving ourselves wholeheartedly to God, giving of ourselves in service to others: rather than depriving us, these are the tools we can use to ensure that we are firmly rooted in the things of God. Temptations are a part of life forcing us to focus on what is really important so that we may arrive at the Promised Land.