Reflection for Sunday, March 6, 2022 by Mary Lou Edgar for the 1st Sunday in Lent, Year C
Lent has always held a special place in my heart. For one thing, as a child, I would spend days trying to decide what to “give up” and always return to the same thing – jellybeans. I love jellybeans (they are one of those things you either love or hate) and I used to call Lent the height of the jellybean season. I would like to say I gave that up by the age of ten, but I still have a thing for jellybeans.
As I have aged, I observe Lent in a very different way, always remembering how hard it was to give up my favorite candy. Many years later, I decided that Lent should be different. The area where I grew up had a myriad of “religions.” I grew up in a denomination where the Bible was not shared openly with the people, I decided that I would read the Bible daily. The next year, I enrolled in a Bible study. Although it made a tremendous impact, it was hard for me to follow. At times, it still is.
This Sunday’s Readings
Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13
The readings for this Sunday each spoke to me differently. Initially, I struggled with how they all worked together. Then after much reflection, I began to see a connection. All of these readings speak of God’s personal relationship with us.
In the first reading I see him as a father trying to care for his children. He brought them out of Israel and got them settled. For me, this is a new idea of God. I spent my life waiting for the “terrifying display of power.” Until recently, I could not picture God as loving. However, as I read this reading, I thought of myself in the story. How many of us remember feeling safe because our parents were big and strong and would always take care of us. I saw God providing, caring, and asking little in return. It was very generous and very parent like. I felt very sad that I had missed that, but I realized I have it now.
Though the second reading is brief, it gives us much to consider. As in the first reading, Paul emphasizes that there is no distinction between people. The Lord is the same for everyone. Paul tells us that we are called to acknowledge who Jesus is, believing that God raised him from the dead so that “you will be saved.” Finally, Luke reminds us of when Jesus went into the desert and fasted for 40 days while being tempted by the devil. The 40 days, of course, is the length of our Season of Lent.
On the first days of Lent, we are reminded of how generous God is to all of us. We are His children, and he will not desert us. In return, we need to acknowledge who he is, love and share with our neighbors, and follow His example when we are tempted. Depending on the day and what is happening, that can be difficult for me. Maybe for you, too. So, this year I pray I can be different. I plan to spend more time each day in prayer, especially in silence. Hopefully, I will be able to wait for the Lord to lead me. I will pray for peace, especially (now) for the people of the Ukraine and Russia.
I want to focus on forgiveness, seeking ways to offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me. If there is no way to do that (for example, if a person has died), I will quietly do something in that person’s name and forgive them so that I am no longer burdened. I also hope to be a kinder and more gracious person, especially to those in my family. Notice there are no jellybeans. I want to be more grateful to God for all I have and not just at Lent! God has been so generous to us, let’s all think about being generous with prayer and praise. Think about praising God for allowing us to live another day, for giving us what we need to live, and for providing us the opportunity to be there for one another. Then remember that no matter what we decide to do, Jesus did something much harder. And he did it for each of us.
Psalm 91:11 For he shall give his angels charge over you to keep you in your ways.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Lou Edgar, MSS, is a clinical social worker who founded A Better Chance for Our Children, an adoption and foster care agency that works to find permanent homes for children in the foster care system. Mary Lou was the Executive Director of ABCFOC, but she is now retired. She graduated from Neumann University and Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research. She and her husband joined SsAM in 2021.