First Sunday in Lent
The Better Way
Jesus, who has been out in the wilderness for forty days, has been experiencing a time of reflection. At his hungriest, most exhausted, and most vulnerable moment, he is confronted with the promises of comfort, power, and privilege. When Jesus is able to decline the temptations before him, the devil departs until a more opportune time. It sounds ominous, doesn’t it? But Jesus doesn’t react as one who needs to be protected from what may be lurking in the shadows. He moves closer to the Way of God and begins his ministry of teaching in the community.
Throughout the years, the church has used the season of Lent as a time for Christian reflection and contemplation. Those same promises of comfort, power, and privilege are offered to us every day. They can tempt us to stay put, instead of stepping out in faith to follow.
How was Jesus able to turn down bread when his stomach must have been churning with hunger? He relied on a more reliable promise, from God. Jesus knew God would protect him and show him a better way. It requires endurance, persistence, and commitment to follow God.
Maybe the challenge for us isn’t quickly to get to the place where “we arrive,” but to find ways consistently to pick the Way of God over the comforts offered by the world. When we can be honest with ourselves about the allure of these things, we can be more open to allowing God to free us from their hold. We can also move further into the ministry to which we have been called and for which we have been equipped to live out in the world, without worrying about the danger lurking.
We are invited to look at ourselves, our practices of faith, and our communities so that we can attend to God’s call in our lives. This may result in a shift of our perspective and possibly a letting go of things that no longer serve us in our commitment to follow Jesus. What might we find if we take a step out, in faith?
Rebecca Craver, Director of Congregational Development,
Moravian Church, Southern Province