Into the Wilderness of Lent

2021-02-21 – Year B – Lent 1 – The Rev. Canon Christopher Klukas
Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:3-9; Mark 1:9-13

  • “Do what tastes right.” “Follow your heart.” “If it feels good do it.” “Four easy payments.” “You deserve this.”
  • These are marketing messages that we hear almost every day.
  • These messages play into our cultural appetite for self-indulgence.
  • Lent is an opportunity to put these messages on hold.

Jesus in the Wilderness

  • The first Sunday of Lent is always devoted to remembering Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan.
    • The length of the 40 days of Lent is modeled on these 40 days of Jesus, and reading an account of this time in Jesus’ life helps us to frame these 40 days of fasting leading up to our celebration of Easter.
  • This wilderness episode is clearly connected, in Mark’s mind, with Jesus’ Baptism.
    • Instead of seeking glory for Jesus, the Holy Spirit drives him into the wilderness (v. 12). “The idea is that of divine necessity.”
    • The fact that Jesus begins his ministry in this way suggests that it is a significant piece of his ministry.
    • The wilderness is the opposite of comfort. Often we see Jesus retreat to lonely places to spend time with his Father. The intent of this time in the wilderness seems different.
  • (v. 13) In being tempted by Satan, Jesus is doing spiritual battle with Satan.
    • Throughout the Gospels Jesus casts out demons over and over again.
    • Ultimately, Jesus death on the cross and resurrection can be seen as the ultimate victory over Satan and the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15.
  • Hebrews 4:15 “Tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.”

Self-Denial: Following in the Way of Jesus

  • Led by the Holy Spirit – We don’t want to come up with Lenten disciplines on our own. We want to have a sense of being led by God into our disciplines.
  • Self-denial is like a muscle that gets stronger when you exercise it.
    • When you practice saying “no” to yourself in small ways, it makes it easier to say “no” to yourself in the face of temptations.
    • It also makes you do battle with the things that tempt you.
  • Fasting gives us an opportunity to receive the strength of God. Jesus was ministered to by angels (v. 13).

The Life of a Monastic

  • Tim Garner is taking vows as a novice oblate of the Monastery of the Resurrection.
  • Monastic life is something that you may be familiar with only through movies or, perhaps from an experience in catholic school when you were younger.
  • An oblate is someone who commits him or herself to a monastic community and its rule of life, but lives out that rule in the world.
    • It is a vocation of prayer and work.
  • “Benedict wrote a Rule for his monks, one that is today praised for its balanced approach to monastic life. Besides the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, it stressed communal living, physical labor, common meals, and the avoidance of unnecessary conversation. At the same time, Benedict made allowances for his monks—for differences of age, capabilities, dispositions, needs, and spiritual stature. “In drawing up these regulations,” he said, “we hope to set down nothing harsh, nothing burdensome.” But he was no libertine: “The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.””
  • Benedictine Vows
    • “Obedience to the commandments of our Lord, and to the superiors of our Order.
    • Stability in faithfully living as a Benedictine for life, and remaining within the Order for not less than a specified period of time.
    • Conversion of Life means living a Benedictine spirituality through Cruciform Conversion, a lifelong process.”

“the monk exists simply to provide the service of being a particularly clear instance of” the Christian call to follow Jesus.

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