3/1/20 – 1st Sunday in Lent

Posted on : Feb 26th, 2020 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

This Sunday is the first Sunday in Lent and this year all throughout the Church, Christians will be observing the 40 days of Lent from Ash Wednesday (Feb. 26) through Holy Saturday (April 11), the day before Easter.  Historically the purpose of Lent has been to prepare the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, and denial of ego.  The last week of Lent is Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday. Following the New Testament story, Jesus’ crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday, and at the beginning of the next week the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday recalls the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as giving up certain luxuries in order to replicate the account of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s journey into the desert for 40 days.  Many Christians also add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional or praying through a Lenten calendar, to draw themselves near to God.  For most Christian Churches the scripture for the first Sunday Lent is the story of Jesus’ time of trial and temptation in the Wilderness.   In the story Jesus has just returned from the Jordan River where he was baptized and immediately led into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.  During that time Jesus fasts and eats nothing.  His first temptation is to turn the rocks into bread so he can eat.  His next temptation is to be given authority over all the realms of earth.  His third temptation is to throw himself off the temple in Jerusalem with the assurance he will not be hurt.  After Jesus resists all the temptations Satan departs.  So during Lent it is common for Christians to give up something they treasure in order to identify with the wilderness experience of Jesus.  Often, however, it is only a token sacrifice people make.  “I’ll give up chocolate for Lent” or “I’ll go on a diet for Lent” or “I won’t buy anything fun for myself during Lent”.  As I reflected on this it seems to me that for many people the act of giving up is much more complex than that.  It may be that as a act of discipline it would be better to examine our lives and focus more on cleaning up some of the mess in our lives rather than giving up some luxury.  During our five Sundays of Lent we will be exploring how we might do that.  Our theme for Lent will be:

 

“Cleaning Up Our Spiritual Rooms:  Lent is More About Tidying Up Than Giving Up”

 

During these next few weeks we will use the analogy of rooms in a house as we explore how we might take on the task of cleaning up our spiritual rooms.  We’ll focus on 4  “spiritual rooms:  Living Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, and Bathroom.  More context will be provided during worship this Sunday.  We hope you can join us for what hopes to be a spiritually uplifting and insightful series.

Blessings,

George

 

Luke 4:1-13

“Jesus’ Temptation in the Wilderness”

 

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,  where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.  The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”  Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”  Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.  And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please.  If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”  Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship your God,  and serve God only.’”  Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,  for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,  so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”  Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put your God to the test.’”  When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

 

 

 

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