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Lent is a time to focus on the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus died, and with his life paid for our sins, we have life. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we too will rise. However, we make a mistake if we think that Jesus’ death is all about an angry, vengeful God who demands payment for our sins. Even the cross that we will encounter in Holy Week is a statement of love – God’s love for the world and for us, Jesus’ love for us and for the Father. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. It is this love that will call us beyond the suffering of Good Friday to celebrate the joy of Easter Sunday. That image of Lent as a journey is one worth exploring.

The Gospel readings through the rest of Lent see Jesus journeying towards Jerusalem. He is aware of the dangers that await him there. The tension is rising and yet He chooses to continue his journey. We are invited over these coming weeks to travel with Him. We are invited to enter into the dynamic of Lent, to spend some time reading and thinking about what is happening in the Gospel stories and to accompany Jesus on his way to Jerusalem.

 

On his journey Jesus faced lots of difficulties and hardships, even dangers. So do we. Jesus’ forty days and forty nights, hunger, thirst, danger of wild beasts around, cold, isolation, doubt, temptation by the devil happened in the wilderness. That’s where he journeyed. Then to Jerusalem and to the Golgotha. When we journey with him, we find ourselves in our own wilderness, what’s more: the wilderness in us! The many things that test our faith in God’s love, care and plan for us. Who wouldn’t have doubted God’s love in dire circumstances: in loneliness, increased anxiety, insecurity, illness, or even devastated by the recent floods in the UK?

 

Yet, over these coming weeks let’s take some time to pray and reflect on God’s word to us, Jesus’ sacrifice for us. On God’s enormous love for us. We are invited to walk with Jesus, to stay with him through darkest times so that we can rejoice with him when Easter dawns. My prayer is that God may transform our hearts as we journey with Jesus through this Lent.

 

With Christian love,

John