Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Baptism & Temptation

As we begin this season of Lent, we started with talking about Jesus' baptism and temptation.  Often it seems that we have a major exciting spiritual experience like baptism, a retreat, etc. and the first thing we want to do is tell everyone about it and do something to respond.  However, after Jesus' baptism, he goes into the wilderness for 40 days to fast and pray!  Maybe we can learn something from this.  Even though we are often excited and "on fire" after big spiritual experiences, maybe what God is often calling us to is to take time apart to pray and listen to how God would like us to respond.

While in the wilderness Jesus is tempted...and every time he resists the temptation and quotes Scripture.  What temptations do you struggle with?  Do you know others who are dealing with temptation?  Commit this Lenten season to asking God to help you through temptations and to praying for others who struggle with temptation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday

Did you know that today is Ash Wednesday?  It is the start of Lent, a season of the church in which we prepare ourselves for Easter.  Yesterday you may have eaten pancakes...but why?  Well, Lent is a time of 40 days in observance of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert where he faced temptation.  So, often we spend Lent in practices of fasting and self-denial.  Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras is the Tuesday before Lent where many will feast and celebrate with the things they will deny themselves for the next 40 days.  Pancakes, then, often make for a good option since they contain rich ingredients of butter, flour, eggs, milk and sugar.  Shrove actually means to confess and repent.  So what we should really be doing the Tuesday before Lent begins is laying everything out before God to prepare ourselves for Lent.  But, to uphold cultural traditions, we did spend some time playing games in celebration of Mardi Gras.  Then we spent time thinking about and committing to something we are going to give up this Lent and something we are going to commit to doing this Lent.  What practices will you commit to this Lenten season?  Are there things you will deny yourself this year?  Comment on this post with your responses.