Vicar’s Reflection: Lent 1, 18th February 2018
The writer of Mark’s Gospel doesn’t waste time describing the temptations Jesus faced and dealt with during his time in the desert. This lack of detail is made up for us by parallel passages in Matthew (4.1-11) and Luke (4.1-13). From these we learn that the principle temptations Jesus faced were about making himself the centre of people’s desire and adoration at the cost of selling out to the devil. The pathways offered were through making grand gestures to display supernatural power such as leaping from the pinnacle of the Temple; gaining the adulation of the world, and turning stones into bread to satisfy hunger for himself and perhaps others. Jesus resisted these temptations, but I wonder sometimes whether those who followed him have done so well. Much as I enjoy the spectacle of high church worship I wonder how well this pomp and splendour matches the words of Christ we hear at the Ash Wednesday service marking the beginning of Lent about not seeking public adulation. Much as I love great Cathedrals and church architecture I wonder how this accords with Jesus’ call to consider the lilies and to live simply. Much as I respect the wisdom and learning of those with degrees and titles, I wonder how this accords with Jesus’ saying that unless we become as little children we cannot enter the kingdom. May your journey in Lent bring you to simplicity, humility and service.