“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.” (Luke 4:1-2)

Lent has begun.  The Season lasts for 40 days, symbolizing the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness fasting before he began his ministry.  If you look at a calendar, Lent is actually 46 days including Sundays.  But since every Sunday is considered a celebration (a little Easter), Christians have traditionally broken their Lenten fasts on Sundays should we choose to do so.  Translation: if you’re giving up chocolate, you are allowed to have some chocolate cake on Sundays!  (You’re welcome for this information.)

What I appreciate about Lent is that we can contemplate improving ourselves and the world.  We can give something up that prevents us from being who God created us to be.  We can take something on that helps not just improve ourselves, but somehow helps people in need.  We can slow down our pace and focus on spiritual practices, opening our hearts to God in new ways.  Lent is a time to reorient ourselves back to God and that can be quite the journey. 

Though what I also appreciate about Lent is that it’s not happy.  Lent allows us to acknowledge that there are times when we wander in the wilderness too.  There are times of trials.  There are times of suffering in our lives.  Of course we know that Easter is on the horizon and the difficult moments ultimately won’t get the last word—because God gets the last word and God is love.  But we don’t have to pretend that life is always sunshine and roses either.  Lent is a time to acknowledge this reality, and there’s something liberating about that.  Just a thought, for this week.

Pastor Lauren

(This Week’s Thoughts 3.7.19)