Friday, 8 March 2019

Lent 1: A slower, yet deeper journey: Ian Green

Luke 4.1-13

Every Lent I get this stone out of the drawer and look at it again.  We picked it up from the Dorset coastline and it immediately reminded us of a freshly baked roll!

After spending forty days in The Wilderness Jesus decided not to turn stones into croissants.

I wonder if that first temptation wasn’t so much about satisfying hunger as much as overvaluing the ‘instantaneous’.  Jesus chose not to go down the ‘quick fix’ route.  Instead the stones stayed stones and he coped with his hunger for yet another day.

We live in an age in which so much can be done quickly; we can hardly keep up with the pace of it all.  Bit by bit we buy in to the idea that news can be obtained at the press of a button, meals are ready when the microwave pings and big political issues can all be solved with nothing more than a catchy and popular soundbite.  Yet quick news is rarely the whole picture, quick food is rarely a good and wholesome diet and quick solutions rarely stand up to the complexities which follow.

I grew up in a wing of the Church that emphasized ‘conversion’.  It was so important to the congregation of my youth whether you had been ‘converted’; could you name the date on which you ‘accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour’?  Well, I can, but that’s not the point.  Although I will always feel a deep sense of gratitude for those days I’ve sinced realised that Jesus wasn’t so much interested in the day I became a Christian but the life I’ve lived as a Christian.  He asked those fishermen to ‘follow’ him.  It wasn’t a one-off event but a lifetime’s journey.

In that ‘lifetime’ we will all change, and that change can be good and positive.  We may barely notice it’s going on.  Our life experiences will change us and will change our theology; our view of God, faith and love.  It will happen naturally and inevitably.  It’s the growth of a person filled with the Spirit of God and I suspect it will rarely be quick.

Jesus, in The Wilderness, rejects the quick fix answers and decides to go on a slower route, one that embraces complexity and struggle, yet one that opens all sorts of unexpected possibilities.  It’s a slow yet deeper journey.

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