Lent Begins in the Wilderness
Lent Begins in the Wilderness
Welcome to the first Sunday of Lent. Today’s service features a communion service. Before you begin the video you may want to prepare a slice of bread or bun along with some juice.
Lent is the time before Easter. It is a period of deep reflection as we prepare ourselves for Holy Week. Lent is often described as a journey, one we take with Jesus as he travels towards Jerusalem. Today we look at where that journey begins.
Scripture: Mark 1: 9-15
Thanks to Trevor Gillman, Diana Carr and Janet Leadbeater for participating in today’s service.
We will be holding our annual congregational meeting on Sunday February 28 at 11am. The meeting will be held using Zoom videoconference and you can find the details to join the meeting below. We recognize that not everyone has access to the technology, and we have an option for people to join the meeting by phone. You will find those details listed below as well. Over the coming month we will share a bit more about how the meeting will unfold and we hope that you are able to join with us that morning.
You can download the Annual Report by clicking here: St. Andrew’s 2020 Annual Report
You can join the meeting using Zoom Video Conferencing. Zoom can be downloaded to your computer or phone. The link below will connect you to the meeting:
You can join the meeting by phone by dialing: 647-558-0588
You will need to enter the meeting ID and passcode which are below/
Meeting ID: 830 8012 7038
Welcome to the first Sunday in Lent. Lent is the period before the events of Easter, it is a time of reflection and preparation. Jesus begins his journey towards Jerusalem, and we follow him there through scripture. Traditionally people have given something up during the season of Lent. Usually this is something that might be an excess or indulgence. Given the state of the world for the past year we might imagine we have been in the season of Lent for some time now.
Through the act of social and physical distancing we have been forced to give up much that we routinely enjoyed. Over the past year society has reflected on how we care for the vulnerable within our society. As businesses closed and people lost their jobs, we realized that our social safety net is very precarious, that more of us than we realize are only a paycheque or two from losing the roof over our heads. We have lamented the lack of care for our elders, as the coronavirus disproportionately affected the elderly and those who health is compromised. And we have struggled with how to handle the economy, what to do about jobs and re-openings. An area that we spend a great deal of time reflecting on and where much of our time and energy is invested, perhaps that alone is worthy of discussion.
If the idea of giving something up for Lent or spending an extended period of time reflecting on the sacrifice Jesus will make on the cross is exhausting, please know that I hear you. I echo that pain. And yet, here we are.
Lent begins in the wilderness. Biblically, the wilderness is a wild and unsafe place. Scott Hoezee writes, “Biblically the wilderness was always a sign of grave spiritual danger.” (Scott Hoezze) It was while following Moses wondering in the wilderness, the desert, that the Israelites faced temptation and began to worship false idols. It is in the wilderness that Jesus is baptized and then the Holy Spirit sends him further into the wilderness where for forty days he is tempted.
The season of Lent starts us in a dangerous place. A place that is wild and unsafe. When we look to the wilderness, we acknowledge our own sin and brokenness. There is nothing wrong with admitting that we have erred, harmed people or done less than perhaps we should have. We are human, but by starting here and acknowledging this we can move forward. Put a proverbial stake in the ground from which we will progress. To say we have been to the wilderness, we have been to that place within our own life which was perilous. To move forward in recognition that the kingdom of God has come near, to repent and believe the good news revealed in the gospels about Jesus Christ.
It is only after Jesus visits the wilderness that he declares, “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Only after we recognize who we are as individuals and as children of God do we see the awesome potential that is the kingdom. Only then do we understand that we need what God offers, peace, love and mercy.
Jesus travels to the wilderness and in his wake, he offers shalom. A deep and abiding peace. When we travel to our own wilderness we can come to peace with who we are. When we travel to the wild places of this world, the dark alleys of our towns and cities, communities beset by racial violence and locales torn apart by war by also have the opportunity to leave peace in our wake. That is something worth reflecting on. Amen.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cobourg is part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The congregation was established in 1833 and continues to serve the community.
St. Andrew’s supports the gathering of community agencies, providing space for the Affordable Housing Committee. Rev. Ellis’ voice is key in advocating for improvements in awareness, empathy and action on key determinants such as housing, income and food security.
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