O God, for many of us, this feels like the longest season of Lent we have ever experienced. We wonder if it felt this long for Jesus when he was secluded in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. When we began this season, we thought we’d just be giving up chocolate for Lent. We didn’t think we’d be giving up going to the church on Sunday mornings.
But as we think about it, this is what this forty day season is meant to do. You call us to leave our normal and “business as usual” daily routine and be reminded of what is most important in our lives and in our faith. We are not only learning that we can live without some things for a while. We are also rediscovering what we can’t live without and that is your love. We can’t live without your love.
We can live without attending a church building on a Sunday morning. We can live without sitting down at our favorite restaurant. We can even live without a month’s supply of toilet paper. But we can never live without your love.
And it is your love that is with us here in this arid wilderness. It is your love that leads us to be creative with new ways of interacting with each other. It is your love that helps us to be patient and stay at home as much as possible to help flatten the curve of this virus. It is your love that reminds us that “we’re all in this together.”
In these next forty seconds to help remind us of the forty days Jesus was in the wilderness, I invite each one of us wherever we may be as we watch this online video to picture yourself in a very arid wilderness with lots of stones and sand, the kind of wilderness Jesus experienced during those forty days. And then picture yourself there with Jesus. Spend these next forty seconds that will feel longer than you might expect and at the end of that time, I will have us join together in praying the Lord’s Prayer. Let’s spend time with Jesus in the wilderness. [40 Second Pause]
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.