This Sunday will be our first Sunday in the season of Lent. Lent is a period of 40 days, beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending on the Saturday before Easter (not counting Sundays). It is a period in which we are meant to prepare ourselves, through prayer and penitence, to celebrate the risen Christ on Easter morning. During this time, individuals are often encouraged to take up spiritual practices or fast from certain foods or activities. These practices are intended to raise our awareness of God’s presence in our lives and attune our hearts to perhaps hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us in new ways.
In our scripture this Sunday, we will read about a time when Jesus engaged in this same behavior. Just after his baptism, Jesus is led into the wilderness where he fasts and prays for 40 days and 40 nights. Whenever I read that story I am always struck at how hungry Jesus must have felt after those 40 days of fasting.
Throughout the season of Lent, we will be focusing on the concept of hunger and of fasting. In our scriptures and in worship we will be seeking to move beyond the concept of food to focus on deeper issues. We all know that our stomachs hunger for food when they are empty. However, I wonder what our hearts hunger for? What do our souls crave? What things do we feel the need to “fast from” in our world or our communities?
I invite you all to join us during this season of Lent as we ponder these and many other questions, listening for the Word of God that nourishes and sustains us. If you feel that your heart and soul is hungry, then come and be fed as we worship together and prepare for our Risen Lord!