Lent 5 – The Wilderness

Luke 4:1-13
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.'”

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'”

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.


Ponder:
When have you found yourself lead to the wilderness, and what did you learn about yourself, about God?

Lent 04 – Rebel Jesus by Jackson Browne

On Monday’s we’ll be introducing you to a song about Jesus to listen to during the day, over Lent we’ll build a small playlist of songs that speak of Jesus in different ways, that paint different pictures and tell different stories.

Today’s Jesus song is by the artist Jackson Browne and is titled “The Rebel Jesus,” it’s one of my favourite songs on my Christmas playlist, it’s both poetic and prophetic.

Jackson once said of the song:

We had also been talking about Christianity and the impact of Christianity on the Mayan people and somehow the two things got combined into this Christmas song. I didn’t really mean to but it came out as an indictment of Christianity. I just want everyone to know you can indict whatever major religion you feel like indicting on this song here. I didn’t mean to lay it all at the feet of Christianity so I hope you take it in the spirit of which it is intended.

Listen to the song and allow it to be a part of your journey through the day.

Lent 03 – Reflection by Ron Reeson

Jesus’ question “Who do you say that I am?” is personal, direct, searching. 

My answer is that of a 21st century 80 year old man who has journeyed with Jesus for most of those years, not a 1st century 30 year old Galilean man who had only known Jesus for a year or so. Which answer shall I offer? Maybe three.

You are the One who makes sense of life

Life can be confusing . Losing my mother at the age of 13 did not make much sense. But as I made my way through those sometimes difficult teenage years your Book, your ways, your teaching, made sense and have continued to do so.  

Pondering that strange unjust event, your death on that Cross, has helped me think about the big themes of life – forgiveness, the mystery of suffering, a fresh start, and grace.  It spoke loudly of the love of the Creator for all created beings, and me. To refuse that love seemed callous, almost nonsense. Yet in accepting that love I found peace and harmony.

Your dying still has its mystery. I do not fully understand it. But, in faith, I can see  some sense and meaning in it. And somehow it also gives sense to my life as well, even when some things make no sense. 

You are the One who gives purpose and direction.

I have always asked you to guide my life because I believed you had a task for me. You have always answered, in different ways at different times – through the Bible, through an inner conviction, through friends, through circumstances. Sometimes others made the decision.

Why was that girl from another part of Sydney, who I slowly began to admire and be attracted to, so often at the camp I was also at? Why did people begin saying “Have you thought of entering the Ministry?” Why was that sermon on the last evening of our honeymoon an overseas missions promotion? And why did a congregation  in  Canberra, who had never met me, invite me to be their minister?. Working for 10 years in the primitive Highlands of PNG hardly seems appropriate background and experience for working in an educated sophisticated Australian community.? But these were no accidents. Choices made prepared for the next stage.  It has seemed an orderly plan. You have directed my life.

You are One who is always with me.

I was facing a major decision. I found myself at Greenhills Camp near the Cotter, with time to think and pray. Sitting on the grass, gazing across the large open paddocks I was surprised there were no kangaroos grazing or resting. Most unusual. I pondered my options. Nothing seemed clear. Ten or so minutes elapsed. No clarity, only confusion. 

Somehow the idea came to look behind me. I could not believe my eyes. There, no more than 10 metres away, were three young kangaroos, standing still, facing each other in a perfect symmetrical pattern. I had no doubt. This was a visit from the three in one God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. After about 20 seconds they quietly hopped away.

I received no guidance or direction that day. The future was still very cloudy. But I received the strongest message I could – “Ron, I, the triune God, am always with you. Never doubt that.” I already knew it. But now I was absolutely certain. I have carried that image with me ever since. You are One who is always with me. 

Ron Reeson

Lent 02 – The Foot Washing

On Friday’s during lent I’ll be posting an image of Jesus with a couple of questions to help guide your reflection.

Today’s image is titled “The Foot Washing” by Kathy Priddis

“Often, God given images in nature provide further understanding of the Jesus story. Here, an ancient yew tree with many roots exposed and fused together to form the trunk, are an inspiration to the painter.
Jesus, the servant-King, and Peter, the revolutionary, start from such different and seperate political positions, like the roots of the yew. But Jesus says to him, “Unless I wash your feet you are not in communion with me.”
The painting portrays both separateness and the oneness with which this particular act of service is always graced.  The heads are closely joined in an intimate realisation of truth; Jesus’ hands both teach and steady Peter, who self-depreciating, also reaches out to embrace.”

– The Christ We Share, CMS

  • How does this image make you feel?
  • Does this Jesus feel familiar, do you recognise him, or is he a stranger?
  • What would you like to ask this Jesus?
  • Can you imagine yourself in the position of Peter in this painting?


Pray: Lord, help me to receive your embrace.