“Come In, Take On and Give Up”
Today, we begin the observation of the season of Lent—forty days (not counting Sundays) stand between us and Easter. We’ll be seeing how Jesus interacts with a lot of others during this time—a thirsty Samaritan woman, a man born blind, a religious man with doubt, the dead, the crowds, and oh yeah, this Sunday—the embodiment of evil.
That’s right, this first Sunday of Lent, we’ll be using Matthew’s telling of Jesus being tempted in the desert by the devil. It’s not so much who is doing the tempting, but what he’s being tempted with: the easy way out. The observance of Lent calls on us to intentionally take on the challenges God calls us to. For some, it’s showing up and being in relationship with God and others. We’re calling that “Come In,” the invitation to community of/with/for Jesus Christ. For some, the challenge of Lent is to “Take On”—an intentional spiritual practice, an added responsibility at home or at work or with loved ones, the cultivation of something new as we head towards Easter. Take up your cross and follow me, Jesus says… And for others, the challenge is “Give Up.” I don’t just mean quitting a bad habit for forty days (though there’s nothing wrong with that); I mean surrender to a higher power.
God is calling each of us to a deeper, wider, fuller relationship with God and each other. And it will take work. It will take surrender. It will take death. But Easter’s coming. Not this Sunday but kind of every Sunday—and I look forward to seeing you then.