Daily Lectionary Readings for Year B
Today is Ash Wednesday. We enter the wilderness time with Jesus. Time will work on us, forty days to whittle away our patient defenses. We will grow tired. We will become weak. And then, as sure as the sun rises, the temptations will come. Who knows what forms these temptations will take? But in their subtle, tantalizing ways, they will seek to make a bargain with us. Give up the ways of love and compassion for your neighbor, and I will fill your bank account with so much wealth you will never have to worry again. Confronting racism is a waste of time. Ignore it and it will go away. Quit the church and walk away from God, and I will give you power on earth. I imagine these and other temptations are with us before and after Lent, but it is during these forty days that we prayerfully confront them and seek to deny their power over us. It won't be easy. Forty days of prayer, confession, fasting, and almsgiving is not easy. But then, on Easter, tired and yet strengthened, we will walk with the risen Christ to serve the world in love.
Today might be a good day to call someone and decide together to support one another through Lent. Agree to hold each other accountable. Trust one another to share the ways you are experiencing temptation. Support and celebrate the hard work you are both doing. Then promise to rejoice together on Easter morning.