Sermon - February 21, 2021 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Sermon – February 21, 2021

Lent 1st Sunday
Genesis 9:8-17
1 Peter 3: 18-22
Mark 1: 9-15
Psalm 25: 1-9


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 forever. Amen

Lent has always been 40 days in length, the original fast began the Monday after the 1st  Sunday of Lent in the sixth century it was moved to what we know as Ash Wednesday, which became the first day of Lent. It is a time of repentance and renewal for the entire congregation. Lent urges self-examination, repentance, prayer, fasting and self-denial, along with reading and meditating on God’s words. This is not only a time for repentance but a time of renewal of old members and the baptism of new members.  The reading from Genesis gives the conditions of the Covenant. We are given dominion over the creatures as food, but their blood was not consumed. Blood was the essence of life and belonged to God. The life of creation is by God’s grace, Noah is the righteous one that God beholds, the payment of the righteousness is not just salvation for Noah, but the promise of life for the world. To be close to God we must be able to trust God, and we cannot exercise trust when we struggle with doubts, when we have doubts, look at them like a rainstorm that would last for 40 days and 40 nights. Lent is a chance to be aware of the doubts and to see them as an opportunity to trust in God’s promise to us.

Trusting God not just in certainty but also in the midst of doubt is fitting for Lenten discipline. This is especially true if one is struggling with self-doubt. When we grow into a deeper, more trusting relationship with God means being able to trust God. Today psalm has some very powerful feelings a person can be afraid of being put to shame, anxiety of being judged unworthy, the fear that one’s doubts can be forgiven. Trusting in God to love, teach, lead, and extend mercy in response.

In Noah’s time the sinful world was buried in a flood, by God’s grace, Noah, and those with him were saved. We experience salvation through the waters of baptism. We  are buried  with Christ in the waters, and through Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, we are forgiven for our sins and granted a clean conscience before God. When we are baptized God made a promise to us  the same way God made a covenant with Noah after the flood.  

Jesus spends forty days in the wilderness, before he entered the wilderness, he was baptized and given a concrete reminder of his identity as God’s Soon and beloved. The temptations Jesus was facing was to assist Him in preparing him for the work he was called to do. Our Lenten practice should be looking for God in our life. The wilderness is about empowerment and exploring new parts of the relationship with Jesus; to help us understand where we are with God and to gather in yet undiscovered ways. This involves facing the unknown, but the is because growth involves the unknown. Lent give us a chance to step into that unknown with God.