This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday.  Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent.  Lent is time to spiritually prepare for the celebration of Easter.  The observance of Lent revolves around introspection, preparation, and reflection to deepen their connection with God and to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus.   

This year as we observe Lent, it is my hope that we can utilize some of the techniques we used during our dwelling in the Word series.  We will be sitting with very familiar scriptures and the invitation is to dwell with those passages and see what the Spirit might have for us. 

This year’s Lent texts focus on covenants. They point to God’s history of reaching out to continue in relationship with God’s people. Covenants begin with God. God forms an agreement with God’s people. Time and time again, humanity fails to follow these covenants, yet God’s mercy and grace remain. Christ is among us, reminding us of who we are, and even when we fail, reminding us of grace and calling us beloved.

This Sunday our focus will be… Christ among Us, Repent and Believe.

The Scriptures we are invited to sit with are…

Genesis 9:8–17

Psalm 25:1–10

Mark 1:9–15

1 Peter 3:18–22

This Sunday I will focus on the story of Jesus being baptized and then heading to the wilderness.  I like the details from the gospel in Matthew…

Matthew 3                          New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw God’s Spirit descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from the heavens said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 4

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

‘One does not live by bread alone,

    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

    and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,

so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God,

    and serve only him.’ ”

11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

In reading this scripture, what do you notice?

What do you wonder?

Where might the Spirit be nudging?

What might Christ be teaching?

What is God expecting of us?

How does this enable us to live our Christian—and Mennonite—identity more fully, bringing glimpses of the new heaven and new earth into our communities?

What is the journey showing us?

Let’s talk about it on Sunday.

~ Pastor Dustin