Posted by: jblevins | March 1, 2009

First Sunday of Lent

Click here to download our reflection for the first Sunday in Lent in PDF form.

Lectionary Text Mark 1:9-15 (NRSV)

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved;* with you I am well pleased.’

12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news* of God,* 15and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;* repent, and believe in the good news.’*

Other Lectionary Readings: Genesis 9:8-17, Psalm 25:1-10, 1 Peter 3:18-22


Of course this week, if this is to be a Lenten reflection focused on our and God’s relationship with all of Creation, focus on the Genesis passage. It is the one where God clearly establishes Covenant with the entire Earth. I mean, in it God says, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” But we all know the environmental implications of that passage. What struck me this week was the importance of the rest of Creation in the beginnings of Jesus ministry. In the Mark passage, Jesus comes out of the WATERS of baptism. He then goes out into the WILDERNESS, where is is with the WILD BEASTS. It is in these elements of Creation where Jesus ministry is birthed, begun, and formed. What does it say about the way we are living that many people around the globe today can’t wade into non-polluted waters to experience the power of baptism? Or, that when we go into the wilderness, the number of wild beasts available to us has been reduced significantly through species extinction?

Finally, Jesus emerges from the water and wilderness to proclaim that the Kingdom of God has come near – and that the promise has been fulfilled. The challenge to us today is to live in that promise. To believe in that promise. And to extend that promise to all of Creation, just as God did in the covenant made with Noah. Jesus ministry, Jesus fulfillment of the promise, was borne out through the water and the wilderness. Let it be so with ours.

Guiding Questions

1. The 1st Peter passage notes that baptism doesn’t serve to remove the dirt from our bodies, but rather to appeal to God for a good conscience. Jesus baptism changed the way he saw the world – how does the world look through baptized eyes?

2. What does it mean for the time to be fulfilled? And to believe in the promise? What does it look like to live in such a way that we believe in the promise?

Daily Actions

Sunday, March 1stSpend some time in reflection with the passages above, and the reflections. Center yourself for the Lenten journey.

Monday, March 2ndLook at what food you throw away this week. Aim to reduce it by a third by eating leftovers and shopping more carefully –using a list and planning your meals.

Tuesday, March 3rdTo help consider the value of water in the world, and the impacts of the global water crisis, plan a World Water Day celebration – click here to download our World Water Day resource.

Wednesday, March 4thTake action to support wilderness and public lands. Click here to express your support for public lands to your congressional representatives.

Thursday, March 5th Return to the lectionary texts for this week. What new emerges from a second reading of them? Try reading them with a group, seeing what new insights come forth.

Friday, March 6th Spend some time remembering your baptism today, and the power implicit in that water. Remember the importance of water to God’s Creation, and visit the Ecumenical Water Network of the World Council of Churches, and their Seven Weeks for Water devotional series.

Saturday, March 7th Use the weekend to spend some time in the wilderness. Take a hike, go skiing, or just get outside. Click here to download our wilderness resources, and add some devotional time to your experience.



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  2. […] first week of Lent, we opened with the passage about Jesus’s baptism. Just as we expect to be baptized in clean, […]

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