First Sunday in Lent
Week of: February 18, 2018
Scripture: Mark 1:9-15
At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan ...
(Mark 1:12, NIV)
Each week during the season of Lent 2018, the Reflections will explore the lectionary text through the lens of a representative hymn.
"Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days,"
United Methodist Hymnal 269. Text from Claudia F. Hernaman, Child's Book of Praise: A Manual of Devotion in Simple Verse (1873).
The text of this hymn is fascinating considering its origin as a children’s devotion. The text does not say those forty days but rather these forty days, highlighting the continued relevance of Christ’s wilderness journey, retelling the story of the journey, and relating it to our own journey of faith.
Consider this prayer-structured text and its retelling of the events of Jesus’ wilderness journey. Does God need the story recounted? Certainly not! I believe God loves to hear us recount the narrative, lest we forget. In our church’s liturgy, we remember the story of creation and the continued story of God’s activity throughout the entire Bible. The first phrase of stanzas 1 through 3 of this hymn narrates Jesus’ trials. The second phrase of all of the stanzas contains a prayer to guide us as we follow Jesus’ path during Lent.
Do you presently feel "sent" into the wilderness? Take these forty days of Lent and ask God what lessons you need to learn.
Consider inviting each of your ensembles, religious arts participants, and other worship team members to read this hymn as part of their evening devotion and prayer time this week. Perhaps you could use this as part of your group or ensemble devotion time. Invite members to share the hymn phrases that resonate with their lives.
Gracious and loving God, abide with me, that so, this life of suffering over past, an Easter of unending joy I may attain at last! Amen.
Director of Music Ministries
St. John's United Methodist Church