Lent is a timeof deep contemplation, unplugging from the senseless busyness of our life,leadingyetagain to the challenging question ofhow we are living out our Christian faith.
Before beginning a public ministry of love, healing and forgiveness, Jesus spent this time in solitude.He ate nothing for 40 days.That period of time reminds us of the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering the Judean desert after their liberation from slavery in Egypt.
Jesus was famished. Naturally, the first thing the Devil tempts him with is a loaf of bread, but Jesus responds,“One does not liveby bread alone.”This story has real meaning when we consider how the Israelites respondedto their hunger in the book of Exodus.
“Give us slavery.”they said“Liberation isn’t worth the struggle.”Today I want to ask you – is freedom worth the struggle?
In Tuvalu, one ofthe world’s tiniest independent nations, the church takes a lead helping people come to grips with a changing climate and climate change impact. In Fiji, the church is a light in informal settlements where people live in abject poverty.And right across the Pacific, its theology that is helping both men and women unpick and unlearn centuries of inequality and abuse against women.
As members of the global church, we do this work together. We learn so much from the passion and faithfulness of our brothers and sisters in the Pacific church. Over the next five weeks of Lent join with us as we work together for freedom.Webelieve it’s worth the struggle.
PrayerOur God,The path is a lonely oneStrewn with mistakesTentative steps,InjusticeAnd the cries, not only of anguishBut also of love,Compassion and exaltation.
Lord, they were the people you had set free,And they had believed in you, the Exodus God.But now in the desert they were lost.Day followed day in a successionOf frustrations, anxieties and difficulties…
Some wanted to return to slaveryResponding to the lure of the familiarSome were content to complain in the wildernessTo resign from the struggle to journey on.
We, Lord, who call ourselves your peopleShare the wilderness and the road.We set out in great hope,Sure of our GodAnd of the path ahead.
But now our dreams are shattered,We are disappointed and perplexed,Too weary to be angryStruggling to find reasonIn a world of pain, competition and hate.
God of the Exodus, remind us, tooThat it is in the desert that we have experienced your graceAnd have grown stronger and gentler.
For to those who persist and journey on,There is the surprise of discoveringThat the desert is fertile.Amen.