Walking through the Wilderness – Lenten reflections.

We’ve reached that time of year when Lent begins. Today is Shrove Tuesday when we celebrate with pancakes and other treats. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and Lent begins. Lent is traditionally regarded as a time to give up the excesses. The period is used to look at our faith and reflect on our relationship with our Lord and Saviour. It’s a time when we think about diving deeper into the heart of our God. The plan is to add posts weekly culminating in the death and the Resurrection.

That’s the intention – keep watching this space. Think – and pray…….

1. Bread for the hungry.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit  in the desert where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.  He ate nothing during those days and at the end of it them he was hungry.  
The devil said to him, 
“If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to  become bread.”  
Jesus answered “It is written, “Man does not live by bread alone.”
Luke 4 v1-4.

Part of our human nature decrees that we do not like being told not to do things. Leave a child with sweets at hand. Then be cruel. Say “Let’s leave those till later.” Oh no. The temptation is much too great. We should have known. I talk to myself about being more healthy. “You really could substitute that refreshing cup of coffee for a glass of water. “You really don’t need that block of your favourite chocolate, do you?” Oh dear. Human nature. My years tell me I am no longer a child. But even now the temptation to resist the things we like are sometimes too great. Jesus was genuinely hungry. He needed food to survive. How easy it would have been to substitute those stones for something good. But he was strong.

I see stones and pebbles in the garden, on country walks. It takes me back to my own childhood, standing with my brother picking up stones and throwing them across the pond. He was older than me and could make the stones skim across the water. We were at the local park. The water was so still. Sunlight pooled across the water and created a vast reflection of trees on the opposite bank. You could have seen your own reflection if you leaned forward far enough. No, I didn’t lean forward too far. I didn’t fall in. I threw my round flat pebble into the water. It went a long way – almost to the middle of the pond. The stone plopped into the wet surface and disappeared. Gone to the bottom of the pond. But I could tell where my stone had fallen. Ripples were spreading from that same place. Wider and wider, more and more until they reached the edge of the pond. And as they spread they distorted the reflection and changed the surface on the water.

Now, as I think of that memory, I think of the stones in the story of the temptation. I think of stones as a symbol of faith. I think of water as a symbol of life. If my stone was my faith and I threw it into the water of life, how deep would it fall? How deep is my faith?

The stone in the pond caused ripples to spread. It changed things. When I throw my stone does it cause ripples, like the stone in my memories? Does it change my life? Does my faith change the lives of others?

If you had a stone which you could describe as your life, how deep would it fall? How deep is your faith? Jesus had fasted and still he did not give in to temptation. Is your faith that deep? Could your faith cause ripples, or even move mountains? Is it strong enough, or should we all throw our stone deeper?

More next week………

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