getting out the Word

the 1st sunday in lent

the PRAYER …

Holy God, heavenly Father, in the waters of the flood you saved the chosen, and in the wilderness of temptation you protected your Son from sin. Renew us in the gift of baptism. May your holy angels be with us, that the wicked foe may have no power over us, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING …

And the Spirit immediately drove [Jesus] out into the wilderness.

Mark 1:9-15

the DEVOTION …

For going on a year, now, every Sunday morning, I’ve been introducing worship the same way. “Welcome to week – fill in the blank – in the wilderness!” As I’ve said before, it’s my way of having a little fun with the stress and strain of being church, nowadays. But the farther we’ve come and the longer we’ve stayed, I realize there’s more to it than that. This wilderness – this wasteland – is what outside-the-box looks like. It’s somewhere we’ve never been before. Somewhere most people avoid. Empty. Uninhabited. And one of those “necessary evils.”

It’s the first place Jesus goes after he’s baptized – er, the first place he’s driven. Not into paradise! Not to a garden! But here! To this place! This is where he’s dared! This is where he’s challenged! Here, he discovers god! Here, he “finds” himself! Tempted by Satan! Living with wild things. Served by angels. It all happens in this place! The roots, the foundation, the origin, of it all, is right here. Without all this there’s no goodFriday. Without all this there is no Resurrection. So, my friends, welcome! Welcome to another week in the wilderness!

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