Lent is a journey with a clear destination.
When I look at where we’re headed, I am today reminded of our Lord’s words spoken in the garden to his disciples: “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour” (Mt 26:40)? In order to walk through Lent in a meaningful and redemptive way, we must hear these words asked directly to us.
In Lent, Jesus looks at each of us with love and compassion and says, “Are you awake?”
Attentive living is closely related to spiritual alertness. It is the realization that we are so often asleep in our faith, drifting from one place to the next without actively or intentionally cultivating a listening ear to the words of God spoken over us.
To be attentive is to be clear-headed. In Lent, we remove the distractions and vices that keep us sleepy and numb to our life with Christ. In fact, attentiveness in Scripture is often seen as the opposite of drunkenness. It is for this reason that Peter encourages Christians to “be sober-minded and watchful” (1 Pet 5:8).
Sometimes, our spiritual sickness is seen in and through deliberate and obvious actions. We lash out at others in anger or rage. We indulge the flesh. We consume in ways that steal from our neighbor. However, it is our passive inattention that is often our greatest threat.
It is possible to sleepwalk your way through life. To wake, eat, drink, work, play, sleep, rinse and repeat, yet entirely miss God in the process. Lent reminds us that it doesn’t have to be this way. Within every question is an invitation, and today Jesus is inviting us to discover the joy that comes from clear-headed and attentive living.
Prayer of the Week
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.Prayer for the First Sunday in Lent
Key Passage for the Week
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him. Mark 1:9-13 (ESV)
What to Listen to This Week
The first step towards attentiveness is to be honest with the Lord about our places of spiritual slumber, repent, and begin again in humility and faithful obedience. In addition to our daily listening plan, Attend, carve out a few minutes this week to listen to these Psalms of Repentance, trusting the Lord will meet you and lead you as you do.