First Sunday of Lent
Book of Genesis 9:8-15, Psalm 25:4-9, First Letter of Saint Peter 3:18-22,
& Mark 1:12-15
In our first reading, Noah is given a promise and a sign. The flood is over; God is seen as having compassion on the earth, the birds, tame and wild beasts, and all of Noah’s descendants. Once there was order, then disfigurement, and now a new relationship. God promised never again to be angry with creation. The sign of this promise is a rainbow spreading over the entire world. The text says that when God sees that brilliant bow (rainbow), God will remember the promise and never punish the earth again.
Today, there continue to be new forms of decreation, disordering, and defacing the earth, ourselves, and one other. We may bring floods of destruction upon our planet and ourselves, but the rainbow will continue to be seen.
In the Gospel narrative of Saint Mark, we hear of the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus had a “little Lent” for Himself as He spent forty days in the desert and was tempted by Satan. I find it difficult to know how Mark’s account of this incredible experience is so brief. What we do know is that immediately after the angels ministered to our Lord, He began proclaiming His Good News. The time had come for God’s perfect love to flood the earth, and Jesus, Himself, is the new Ark of salvation, truth, and repentance.
God “repented” in Genesis from the dis-creational judgment. Jesus’ Gospel asks for a “repenting” on the part of humanity from its irreverent relationship with God and God’s creation. Jesus began proclaiming the reception of God’s love as the number one priority for living as one of God’s creation, which Gods saw as “very good.” In the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, verses 27 through 31, God is portrayed as creating male and female and giving them all creation as a gift to be received and reverenced. Jesus began recalling God’s people back to their original relationship with God through creation.
Lent is a joyful time. We spend days taking off the bandages from our eyes and earmuffs from our ears. We begin to see and hear more clearly. The goodness of creation, ourselves, and all open to us as a revelation of the goodness of God. Before us, we have forty days of repenting from disrespectfully eating, drinking, self-hating, relationship-wrecking, gossiping, name-calling, and dark thoughts. We repent from calling this “very good” and return to seeing ourselves and everyone we meet in life as “very good” in Christ Jesus.
Question of the Day: During Lent, how will you encourage yourself and others to re-church, re-energize, and re-lent?
Prayer: “Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.”