Full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…When the Devil finished testing Jesus he left him until a favourable time.
(Luke chapter 4 verses 1 &13)
So Lent begins and as I write I’m not quite sure how best to mark it. We have our usual Ash Wednesday liturgy and the reminder of our mortality and the need to repent of our sins so I shall be at church for the official beginning of Lent. But then what?
One discipline I have decided upon is to look at the readings for Sundays during Lent as found in the Book of Common Prayer – often referred to by its date of first publication, 1662. I looked at some reviews on Amazon and one person was most disappointed because they were expecting a facsimile of a 17th century book. In fact the Book of Common Prayer (aka BCP or 1662) is still in use today in the Church of England so the 21st century edition is slightly different from previous ones. An obvious example is that in prayers for the monarch it is Elizabeth II who is mentioned, not Charles II! However, the language and doctrine are firmly rooted in the 16th and 17th centuries, which for some is an attraction but for others a disadvantage. It is not a book I regularly use but it has been part of Anglican culture for centuries so worth at least a second look.
Meanwhile, here I am at the beginning of Lent thinking of giving up chocolate (again), and planning on attending the parish Lent course. Yet, I am struck by a familiar question, “What would Jesus do?”. If He were in my shows, what would he do? And I find I am not sure: I don’t think I am expected to travel to the Holy Land to spend 40 days in the wilderness to be tested. I suspect that “ordinary life” will provide temptation enough. One thing I do want like Jesus: to be led by the Spirit to and through the wilderness. Because if we are not led into the desert by the Spirit we might as well go as tourists. Just a thought.
A Prayer from “Common Worship”
Heavenly Father, your Son battled with the powers of darkness, and grew closer to you in the desert. Help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer that we may witness to your saving love in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Additional Collect, Lent 1)