Ash Wednesday
Joel 2; Matthew 6

Ash Wednesday February 17, 2010: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

COMMENT: As we begin this Lenten season, let us consider the spiritual life of Jesus. From the beginning of his life, Jesus was intimately connected to the religious traditions and Liturgical seasons of his people. His parents took him to the temple (Luke 2:23) to fulfill the command of (Ex. 31:18-20), called today in the Jewish tradition as "redemption of the firstborn son." Then when Jesus was 12, his parents took him to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast (Luke 2:41-52). Like Jesus' parents and we as Christian parents, hope that God will honor our faithfulness to the spiritual upbringing of our children.

When Jesus began his public ministry we often find him teaching in the synagogue and going with his disciples yearly to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, the responsibility of the Jewish male. However, Jesus also had a personal spiritual life. He either went up into the mountain or into the desert, to be alone to pray. What is important to note, are the results of this spiritual discipline in Jesus' life. Jesus walked on water and people were healed physically and mentally, just by touching his clothes (Matt. 14:22-39 and Mark 6:47-49). I find it interesting that Jesus prayed all night before choosing the twelve apostles (Luke 6:12-13). Jesus also took some of his disciples away with him to pray (Luke 9: 18). The "Transfiguration" was an event that occurred when Jesus was alone praying with Peter, James and John (Luke 9:28).

The desert experience of Jesus that fascinates me the most, when after his baptism, he was tempted by Satan forty days in the desert. I dare say this was not the first time Jesus spent long periods in the desert. With practice, it was humanly possible for Jesus to go without food that long, as long as he drank two quarts or more of water per day. Perhaps Luke 2:52 is a fitting reference that from 12 years onward, "Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people.” Peterson's, The Message

Through the spiritual disciplines that are encouraged during Lent we too like Jesus will become spiritually and physically fortified, formed to transform the world.

Consider reading slowly one of the above texts. Pay attention to a word or phrase that gets you attention. That word or phrase is God’s invitation to intimate ‘conversation’.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

Lenten Blessings,

Rev. Julia
© February 16, 2010

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