Strength in Vulnerability
Scott Murphy, First Presidency
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. -Matthew 4:1-2
If you are like me, there are times in the busyness of life when I would like to skip over the season of Lent and get right to the joyful celebration of Easter. The journey between Lent and Easter requires something of us that is not always easy or comfortable.
Our theme this first Sunday in Lent highlights what I’m suggesting-Strength in Vulnerability. Being vulnerable is not an attribute most people strive to achieve. Vulnerability requires a willingness to let down our guard and to be open to see life-our life-in different ways. Yet, being vulnerable, as uncomfortable as it may be, is precisely what we need to explore the kind of new life God is inviting us to experience. This is what we encounter in the story of Jesus’ time in the wilderness.
At the heart of this story, the Gospel writer encourages us to see the human side of Jesus and his willingness to be vulnerable. Jesus does not achieve this by seizing power for himself, by testing or negotiating with God, or by finding an easier way to skip the cross and jump right to Easter morning. This story is about what Jesus discovered when he was willing to be vulnerable to the divine love that journeyed with him.
This is why we need this time of Lent. There is no skipping the journey to jump immediately to Easter. The new life that awaits us takes on deeper meaning when we are willing to be vulnerable in our own “wilderness-time” of self-examination and reflection.
May your Lenten journey be filled with new discoveries of life as you choose to be vulnerable in your own wilderness. There you will discover the person God is calling you to be and find the strength to live out that calling.
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
Lenten Spiritual Practices
Moving Toward the Peaceful One
As Jesus was nearing the final days of his life, he wept over the city and proclaimed, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:41-42).What are the things that make for peace in our lives, communities, and around the world? During the Lenten season, spend time in silent refection or journaling each day to notice: Am I moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One? Pay attention to your attitudes, actions, and relationships this day. When did you most embody the peaceful One in your daily living? When were your thoughts or actions contrary to the peace of Jesus Christ? How might Jesus, the peaceful One, who is always near to you, be inviting you to draw nearer to him through your daily living?
Fasting and Giving-$40 in 40 Days
A Lenten fast gives us an opportunity to make space in our lives so that God can live in and through us. It’s a time to evaluate what we hunger for most and what we consume. This year, we’ve been invited to tithe as a spiritual practice by setting aside $40 during the 40 days of Lent. If you are participating, pay attention today to the dollar you have given. What might you have done with that dollar otherwise? How does Lenten generosity invite you to reflect on what is “enough” in your life? Who might you invite to join you in this practice? How might your gift be magnified by the many others responding to the same call?
You can make your $40 offering anytime during the Lenten season online or through your offering envelope for Worldwide Mission Tithes.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.