(Luke 4: 14)
These verses describe the beginning of the Galilean ministry, coming right after the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. At the start of this Lenten season, we witness Jesus at this beginning. The start of a new church season can be a time to reflect on what this season may teach us, and how we can enter the experience of Lent. Something is going to happen in us this Lent. We may be paying closer attention to the workings of the Spirt in and through us.
Lent invites us into a process of discerning the Spirit’s work and focusing more clearly on movements of the Spirit. Our perspective may change with only the slightest movement. Recently I rode in the back seat of my car, something I rarely do. I am usually driving or in the passenger seat, but we had friends visiting, and I politely offered one of them the front seat. We drove a familiar route, but my perspective really changed. I was looking at landmarks from a different angle and seeing the view through new eyes. Lent can be like this, putting on the eyeglasses of the season, so to speak, and seeing things with new eyesight.
We are on a journey with Jesus during Lent, and there is something different about the weeks ahead. We may be in familiar spaces, but they are unfamiliar because we are experiencing them in a new way. We may recognize events and people as we walk with Jesus, but we redefine their identities and our own life in Jesus as we refocus again and again on the work of the Spirit. As a Christian educator, I love the word teach. Lent can teach us something. We in turn can teach others as we share and learn together. We are all educators in a way, coming together around the Word, experiencing the power of the Spirit, and discerning together as a community how we can be changed together.
Lord, as we come together this Lent, help us live into the promises of the Spirit on the journey ahead. Guide us in our discernments at the beginning of this season. May we be transformed and sent forth by the landscape of Lent, to do your work of justice and mercy. AMEN.