Dear Life Journeyers:
“[Jesus] was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan…” Mark 1:13a
The other day, my wonderful wife, Shellene, mentioned that she would like for us to repaint our living room and hallway. A new paint color, in my opinion, is always nice. The change of color always seems to brighten a room, and really just freshens everything up. I would have done it for her yesterday, if it was easy. But its not! The problem is to get that new color, there has to be lots of preparation. Frist you have to move everything out of the room or at least to the center and cover it with sheets or drop clothes. Then you have to plaster in the nail holes and other chips that 2 big dogs do make – believe me. Then you have to sand down all that new area and the old, making a room full of dust and dirt. Then the process of taping-off the trim work, the windows and the floor and ceiling begins, trying to get that tape just right. And when it isn't you have to rip it off and start again until it is perfectly straight. Finaly you get the brushes and rollers out and pick out the paint, but then you realize whoops, you have to prime the walls first. So paint once with primer. Then when the walls are dry and everything looks right and the weather is not to dry or to wet, and the sun is not shining in and its not to dark, then you can finally roll on some paint colors. Wow, what a process!
Just like painting the room, our faith journeys can be a lot like it. We want to be at the festivals and the high points of the celebrations. We would to rejoice and sing glorious songs and hear good messages of joy and resurrection. And sometimes we just want to jump from high point to high point, from good time to good times. That is how I feel about Epiphany to Easter. Epiphany is such a glorious moment, when the incarnation and the earthly realm meet and the glory of the light shown down and it was made known that the Son of God has been born. Then I would like to run right to Easter to celebrate, feast, decorate, rejoice in songs, and hear messages of everlasting joy. But just as painting, to enjoy the high festival season of Easter, we must first go through our Lenten discipline; the forty days of preparation by being in meditation, confession, Biblical study, worship and prayer. It takes time to get from that one point to the other. To value the sacrifice of God, to know his glory, to be in the song of faith, we have to take our time to go down the mountain with Christ and walk through the valley of the wilderness and prepare ourselves for what is to come.
Jesus prepared, perhaps its time for us to also prepare. This Lent may you do the prep work to meditate, read scripture, be in prayer, to walk humbly with the Lord so that we can also come to the grave at Easter and see the glory of the empty tomb and hear his voice calling. Do the prep work!
In the Peace and Grace of God,
Pastor Kirk Griffin