For the Beginning of Lent

“Follow Me – Satan (Temptation of Jesus Christ),” Ilya Repin 1903.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,
‘One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’.”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone’.”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’.”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him’.”
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. ‒ Matthew 4:1‒11

Lent begins today with Ash Wednesday. It is a season during which we commemorate Jesus’ journey into the desert, where he fasted for 40 days in preparation for his ministry on Earth, by fasting ourselves or giving up something for the duration.
We are all tempted as Christ was tempted; but where he resisted we often give in. As we enter the season of Lent, we take on the posture of self-examination and repentance. The Collects for this season ask God for mercy and forgiveness for our sins, but they also ask for grace, strength, and joy – a reminder of what we find in Christ through his sacrifice and example. Whether you are giving up something small for Lent or taking on a new contemplative practice, may the peace of Christ find you and keep you this season.

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