A Congregational Letter to Morgan’s Point and Forks Road East United Churche
Today, we move into Lent – a time of thoughtful reflection. This is our time in the wilderness. It is a time, and a place, in which we can reflect on who we are in community, and who we are in relationship with God. It is also our time to contemplate on who we are as God’s beloved children.
Last week, February 21st, was Lent 1, and I was not able to officiate in the worship service. Therefore, I decided we needed to celebrate Lent 1, today, although it is a week late. I decided this because, in addition to starting our journey into Lent together, today also offers us a time to celebrate a Lenten Service of Communion. It seems a natural way of worshipping God, as we combine the beginning of our Lenten journey with a Holy feast celebrated together in community.
This Sunday, Lent 1, is based on Mark 1:9-15, and is entitled “Understanding Our Wilderness”. In our lesson from Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is struggling with his Baptismal identity, after he is driven by the Spirit into the Lenten wilderness of temptations. His baptismal identity, as well as our baptismal identity, is always at risk in the wilderness of temptations. By this, I do not mean that God might withdraw, or cancel, our identity. But, in the wilderness, we might set our baptismal identity aside, and become someone other than who God has declared us to be, which is a beloved child of God, just as Jesus was declared a beloved child of God during his Baptism.
The wilderness temptation is not so much about choosing what we will do, or not do, with our life, but rather choosing who we will be, or not be. The identity we choose will then determine what we do, or do not do. Do we choose our belovedness as God’s child, or do we choose something less than being the beloved child of God? Jesus did not go to the wilderness to prove something to God. Instead, he went to learn for himself who he was; what it means to be a beloved child of God; and the cost that name carries. That journey is true for us as well. We begin our wilderness journey, today.
During this Lenten wilderness journey, God invites us to ask ourselves, who we want to be, and do we truly want to be and live as beloved children of God. These are our choices to be made, and lived, during this Lenten Season.
Let us continue to pray for one another every morning at 10:30, remembering that God grants us wisdom, love, and peace as we hold each other in God’s tender keeping. Much love and care to you all. Keep well and safe.