Introduction to these Lenten Reflections…
Lent is the period of 40 days before Easter (excluding Sundays that are considered mini days of resurrection). The number 40 appears throughout the biblical story as a number that points to a time of preparation or waiting.
The number 40 appears in the story of Noah and the 40 days/nights of rain and the period of cleansing and renewing of earth and humanity. We also see it in the wilderness wanderings of the people after they are liberated from oppression in Egypt – there are 40 years of waiting, wandering, becoming before they enter the land of promise and seek to fulfil their calling. ‘40’ appears at other times and Jesus is thrust into the desert, the wilderness, for 40 days and is tempted and wrestles the demons before he is baptised and begins his mission of proclaiming God’s Reign in the world.
Lent picks up on this time of 40 and invites us to journey with Jesus towards the cross. We are invited to reflect on his story and his words that challenge the world and turn things upside down for the sake of love and justice. These are words and a life that is hope-filled for all people despite the paradoxical and even confusing twist of his teaching. We are invited to pause throughout our days and ponder more deeply on our own life in the light of Jesus’ life – does he offer us a new way? Do his words challenge the way we live or perceive the world and liberate us into a new and wondrous way?
These reflections are based upon Mark’s story and essentially cover the journey of Jesus from Mark 8:27-16:8. You are encouraged to read this story concurrently – it isn’t long but gives you the actual story upon which the reflections seek to raise questions and draw insights. This booklet has 7 sections that correspond to 6 weeks of Lent and the last for the week after Easter. It takes us from Galilee and Caesarea Philippi in the north to Jerusalem and back to Galilee. You are invited to ponder these metaphorical regions in your own life and what they mean.
The language is more poetic and metaphorical so that we are encouraged to move beyond the questions of literalism, fact and historical truth (all of relative importance) to be able to perceive the deeper truth that lies at the heart of this story and how this truth engages us and the life of our world. I have tried to be faithful to Mark’s story and so other ‘theologies’ are left aside and I invite you to try to hear what Mark says – not what you think he should say.
You can read these online by clicking on each week or download a pdf file by clicking on this link:
The Lenten Journey 2014
May this series of reflections be a source of God’s blessing.