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      As we begin our journey to Easter, these selected scripture passages and reflections are from Dr. N.T. Wright in Lent for Everyone. May they be both a blessing and a calling for us.

      Monday – Mark 1.1-9. “Like the description of John’s clothing, Mark’s description of John the Baptist’s diet was probably meant to highlight that he appeared as a strange, wild man, living in a way that exclaimed, ’It’s time for a change! Ordinary days are gone—a new age is about to begin! God is on his way!’” John got people’s attention and once he did, he challenged them to prepare to welcome God himself. During Lent, let’s desire to ‘welcome God’ in a new way!

      Tuesday – Mark 1.4-5. “We sometimes think of ‘repentance’ as being only about going back: going back, wearily, to the place you went wrong, finally making a clean break of it, and then hoping you can start again. Lent is not a bad time to face up to such a moment if it has to be done. But John’s message of repentance was essentially forward-looking. God’s doing a new thing, and we have to get ready! If you received a phone call that someone really important was coming to visit you, you’d whip around your home, cleaning. What is in your life now that you’d like to ask God’s help in cleaning up or making right in order to welcome Him?

      Wednesday – Mark 1.21-28. “The surprise of authority. Someone is in charge here! We’d better sit up and take notice! This is what Mark is highlighting in this early incident in Jesus’ public ministry. And it shows so much of what the gospel is about. Jesus was going around telling people that God was actually coming as King. And Jesus was behaving as if He, Himself, were in charge–as if He were the king. The central part of Jesus’ message was that, as King, all of God’s rival powers were being defeated, including the dark, shadowy forces that had seized control of some individuals.” Is there an area where you need to yield to Jesus’ authority in your life?

      Thursday – Mark 2.13-17. Tax collectors were despised. They worked for a foreign, dominating regime. And they padded their own pockets. “In a small community, once someone was regarded as a bad character, that’d be it. No one, except their own kind, would want to befriend them. But Jesus was determined to treat them differently. He wanted to rescue them, not leave them as they were. When Jesus says, ‘Follow me,’ it is a wonderful affirmation of who we are, deep down inside. You are a human being, made to reflect God’s image and glory into the world.” Levi discovered that he had a new calling, a new life to live. So do we.

      Friday – Mark 1.9-15. “Jews of Jesus’ day associated the idea of God becoming King with the memory of their great story, the Exodus. Jesus is, as it were, leading through the water to the new world, the new time, the new possibility. He goes into the desert for 40 days, like the Israelites did for 40 years. Then, back He comes, announcing ‘The time is come! God is becoming King, right now!’ Now, too, is the time for us to turn back from doing things our own way, abandoning our own little schemes and allowing God to be God and Lord in our lives.”

      Saturday – Psalm 25.1-10. At times in our lives, most of us have imagined what it would have been like to have been an explorer on a great adventure. Truth is, we can embrace that role now. The Lord is always eager to lead us into an adventure with Him. Just like the early explorers, heading off into unknown country that is full of hazards and glorious possibilities, we are wise to have a guide. Verses 4-5 can serve as a daily prayer, especially as we’ve set off on this Lenten journey where we are seeking and learning new ways that God wants to shape us.

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