I had a friend say to me about my doodles it is good to leave space some time so others can interact and doodle with it themselves. This seemed like a good week to do so. We have entered into the season of Lent. It is a time of reflecting on where we are with God and doing a bit of work on it. It goes for 40 days representative of the time that Jesus spent in the desert.
We hear in the reading today about the 3 main temptations that Jesus was faced with, to use his power for his own personal gain, to use his power to be a superstar in his community or use his power to rule the world.
It got me thinking, we are all given gifts and abilities and given a choice about how we are going to use them. Do we use what we have just to take care of ourselves? I do think we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves, to be active and do our share, but when we get to the point where we only care for ourselves and our immediate family I think we may have lost sight about what we are here for. In our world of pension cuts and encouraging individualism it can be easy to circle the wagons and be fearful for the future. If something goes wrong I will have no – one and I must look after myself, God offers a different voice, remember last week do not worry? Be generous as God is generous to you.
We could also use our gifts and skills to make ourselves look pretty impressive. Aren’t I fabulous! It is interesting that I have even seen people use the gift of service to make themselves look good. Humility is an interest path and not always an easy thing to master. It is a balancing of being confident and comfortable in who we are and our gifts but seeing them as valuable and important as all other gifts. We have an equal place in the whole, that means we are no better or worse than anyone else.
The final temptation is about power, do you want to rule the world? or at least your little patch of it? I think in our world we can often feel very powerless. I wonder how often we remain silent or absent from issues because we feel powerless to do anything about. I am only one person? Last week I went to a training course in political advocacy and learnt how a good democratic system works. The truth is we do have power, you have power. Your voice added to the voice of others can change the world and often does.. This is both very hopeful and very scary at the same time. Things can be changed. When enough people are brave enough to look at the issues honestly and seek wisdom the world can be made a better place. There is also the opportunity to use that power that might make the world better for some but makes it a lot worse for others, thus I say the need for honest wisdom. As a Christian I believe I am called to humbly sit before God as I ponder my opinion about this, to sit in that humble place means that i might need to acknowledge I am wrong and need to change what I am doing and how I see things. You will find I rarely say this, but from this perspective Paul is my hero, he was adamant he was right about persecuting the Christians but God knew that Paul was a genuine man of God and that he could be changed and he did, becoming one of Jesus biggest supporters.
So Lent, a time to pick something up or let something go to become closer to God. I offer the colouring in this week as a meditation what are your temptations? Where are you locked into only thinking about yourself? Where do you want to impress people or be the centre of attention? or where are you hiding from the community around you? and where are you using the power you have? Are you using it to help many or only some or have you been sitting comfortably not using it at all?
I pray this time of Lent may be a rich opportunity of deepening growth with God for each of you.