The Gospel this week:
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
I won’t say a lot about the Gospel this week because I’m preaching this Sunday but I will comment on the fact that it’s Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent.
I remember some of my friends High School complaining about the time of Lent because they had to give something up. At that time in my life I was not tuned into the fact that these were probably the children in the Catholic households. We as Episcopalian’s don’t normally look to give something up. If we are looking for a Lenten practice we might take something on instead.
Perhaps you will spend time reading the Bible each day, or maybe you have decided to join a book club like what Deacon George Ham is hosting with the book “THE ASCENT OF THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD,” Daily Reflections for the Journey of Lent. Or maybe you have some other practice that you engage in during Lent.
A friend of mine recently said to me that she felt she had given up some much this past year. She felt that she doesn’t need to give anything up this year or do anything special for Lent. I would caution this thinking in that it pushes the space that we make for God at this time of the year off to the margins.
While many of our neighbors are looking at opening their buildings and people are starting to be vaccinated I would remind us that we have a long way to go yet to get ahead of this menace.
If you still are one of those who feel like you need to fast this Lent I will leave you with the words of Pope Francis:
Peace to you during this time: