Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you. Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. —Matthew 4. 1-2
Jesus went out into the desert to confront his temptations. He went to see his fears, desires and attachments more vividly, to name them and be more free from them, in order to become more loving.
The Spirit that led Jesus is also in us: Love that yearns to become perfected in us. In Lent we go with Jesus into the desert, not to suffer or wallow in guilt, but to see more clearly. We go to see our sin, in order to see through it to God's love— and to get free of what inhibits love. We engage in Lenten disciplines in order to expose our temptations, to face our needs and fears and desires and attachments, to name the evil that is in us, and to see beneath them to our deepest, truest hunger, which is for God. We see our sin more clearly, and beneath it we see our belovedness. The more honestly we face our needs and fears, our failings and weaknesses, the more clearly we see how we habitually identify with them. But they do not define us; God's grace does. So we pray and fast and give generously in order to see through the things that get in the way of our receiving and giving God's love. And we let go of them, setting free the love that is already in us.
This Lent, go into the desert with Jesus to look at yourself honestly, to see through your sin, to see more clearly and become more deeply who you truly are: God's Beloved, deeply loving. Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve
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