Having had a mountaintop experience last Sunday, with bright white lights, feelings of triumph, and display of power, this Sunday can feel like the exact opposite. As we begin our march toward the cross, the retelling of the Passion of Jesus, and our celebration of the resurrection, we may feel like we are wandering in the wilderness. Today’s Gospel reading reminds us that Jesus, after being baptized, walked through the wilderness for 40 days. Similarly, we read the end of the story of Noah and the Flood when the ark and all its passengers traversed a watery wilderness. At the end of that story, though, we hear God make the rainbow promise to not destroy the world through a flood again. In the reading from 1 Peter, we learn that the flood story foreshadows the importance of baptism in our faith lives. It’s clear from today’s readings that the waters of baptism flow through time, shaping God’s call for us, and show that God, claiming us in the waters of baptism, always goes with us.
The rainbow, sign of God’s covenant
Your paths, O Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness
1 Peter 3:18-22
Saved through water
The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness for forty days
This week, the first Sunday in Lent, we sing O Lord, throughout These Forty Days, marking the beginning of our journey through the wilderness toward the cross. In this hymn we sing directly of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and ask that God would give us the same ability to deny ourselves and point toward something larger than us. We’ll also start our Lenten journey by singing A Mighty Fortress where we sing of the temptations of the devil and God’s abiding Word who remains with us always!
What ways are you reminded of God’s presence when you go through the wildernesses in your life?
We learn this week about the rainbow as a sign of God’s promises. What other items remind you of God’s promises to love? How do you do your part to make those promises known to God’s people?