“And the Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.”
Our Lenten theme this year at the Sun Prairie United Methodist Church is, Can You Relate? Each week in worship we are asking that question, can you relate? And then thinking about various things we all have experience with that are also talked about in Scripture.
This past weekend in worship we heard the Gospel story about the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness immediately following his baptism from the Gospel of Mark and asked the question, Can You Relate to Temptation?
Temptations are all around us and come to us in so many different ways and forms, even as we pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” in our Lord’s Prayer. We all struggle with temptation in thought, word and actions, and giving into temptation is often a dominating force in a weary and needy world.
During Lent, we are called to repent, reflect and draw near to God and our neighbor. The spiritual practices of worship, prayer, study, service and fasting that we emphasize during the season of Lent can help us resist temptations. And the spiritual practices are not as hard as they seem to incorporate into our daily lives. It’s not necessarily about trying to take on all the spiritual practice…start with one and see how you do. Perhaps it’s committing to tune into worship each week, or read a different Psalm each day, or pray the Lord’s Prayer each day slowly and meditatively, or educate yourself about one hard topic during Lent, like Racism; or fast in a variety of ways during Lent.
Pope Francis suggests fasting during Lent could be such things as, a fast from hurting words and say kind words. Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope. Fast from worries and have trust in God. Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy. And, fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
In the midst of facing our daily temptations and our daily striving to have a meaningful and Holy Lent, make sure to watch and listen for the angels that are with us and around us, ready and willing to wait upon us in our times of need.