Lent prepares us for Easter by leading us to the cross: 40 days, 40 steps to Calvary. It is the downward ascent to God’s mercy.
Lent break ground in us for fresh mercies. It exposes what in us is merciless–stingy, resistant to grace. Lent is the desert in which we in our hunger and thirst are tempted to forsake the Source for pretty poisons.
Lent is the desert in which we can discover the stream that rumbles beneath the valley of death, ready to surface and transform the burning sand into a pool.
Lent is a severe hope; it points always and only to the God-man agonizing on the cross, forsaken yet certain of the glory-to-come.
Lent asks us to reflect upon the ways that we in our constant scheming to resurrect ourselves might surrender afresh to the Crucified Christ.
Lent asks us to die once more in order to be raised with Him all the more.
In so doing, Lent prepares us for the only hope worth dying for.
Lent is 40 days with Christ in the desert of His fast and His temptation. Filled with life, full of the Spirit, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the place of death, a land of dark spirits which prey upon weak and hungry ones.
(Matt. 4:1-12; Mk 1: 12, 13; Lk 4: 1-13)
Jesus chose the way of weakness and hunger in those 40 days; Lent invites us to do the same. We let go of familiar props and meals in order to rely upon Him alone.
Jesus invites us in to the desert of our own heightened hunger and thirst in order to meet us—to become for us the bread and water of Life. His days in the desert become ours.
We shall discover together how our valleys of death—inside of us, all around us—may actually be better candidates for living water than well-watered gardens.
In these 40 days, I shall be reflecting on our 30 years of ‘Desert Stream’: an extended time with Jesus in the heat of ministry. I hope to convey 40 ways in which His mercy made the burning sand a place of pools.
We shall follow every reflection with a particular plea: that God would have mercy on the USA and use for His glory the current battle for marriage still raging in CA (Court case Perry vs. Schwarzenegger challenging Prop. 8; closing arguments will be made during Lent with Judge Walker’s decision soon to follow).
‘As You have shown us mercy, O God, in the desert places of our lives, would You show mercy to the beleaguered state of marriage in the USA? As the Perry vs. Schw. case wends its way to the National Supreme Court, prepare for Yourself a victory. We shall render to Cesaer what is Cesaer’s but we shall prayerfully fight that what is Yours, O God. Prepare the hearts of each justice, especially Justice Anthony Kennedy, to uphold marriage according to Your merciful design. Remember mercy, O God.’