First Sunday of Lent: reflections on the readings

As part of the Call to Change initiative, the Jellicoe blog now has a weekly post on the forthcoming lectionary readings.  This Sunday’s Gospel reading is Mark 1.9-15

Right at the start of Jesus’ ministry, he faces a choice of direction.  Matthew and Luke tell us more about the temptations Jesus faces.  Satan urges Jesus to perform dramatic stunts, to get popularity and fame.  But Jesus’ mission is to be a servant king.
In Jesus, God becomes one of us – and so he must go through the struggles and the frustrations of human life. He comes alongside us with all the risk and suffering that involves.   He isn’t here to bowl people over with his wonders, to intimidate them by his power, but to love them into God’s Kingdom.
Lent is an opportunity for us to think about the direction of individual lives, and our common life.  It is a time to think about the ways in which we are shaped by the world around us – and the beliefs which actually animate our actions.
Do we live as if it is through suffering love – through the  way of the cross – that new life comes to the world?  Are we willing to become vulnerable, forgiving those who have caused us the deepest hurt, speaking the truth to the powerful even when they don’t want to hear it? 
Jesus path is not an easy one:  it doesn’t shirk conflict, but in the midst of conflict it remains a way of love.  It is, as we know, a demanding path.  Like our Lord, we face the temptations to an easier (perhaps more dramatic) path.  We cannot walk the way of Christ alone – which is why Lent is a time to draw closer to God, and to one another.
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