Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday : Stations Of The Temptation

Lent recalls the time Jesus spent in the desert in preparation for his ministry. During our service this evening we created space to move through three prayer stations reflecting on the temptations Jesus faced:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

(Matthew 4:1-11)

+ Station 1
At the back of the church there is a Bible covered in pebbles. Lent is a season to create space to read the Bible, to be fed by God’s word. Take some time to answer the question:

What are the obstacles that stop me from spending time feeding on God’s word?

Ask God to strengthen you to overcome those obstacles. Then take a pebble from the Bible and drop it in the bucket, to symbolise your intention to read the Bible this Lent.

+ Station 2
At the front of the church there is the opportunity to receive the sign of the cross in ash on our foreheads. Ashes symbolise both death and repentance, or turning back to God. Take some time to answer the questions:

Where do I find it hard to trust God? In what situations have I tried to force God’s hand? In what areas of my life do I need to put to death the desire to be in control?

As you come forward, give these things up to God in silent prayer.

+ Station 3
In the Lady Chapel there will be bread and wine available. These gifts remind us of Jesus’ death on the cross, his victory over Satan’s hold on the world. Take bread and wine, giving thanks for what Jesus has done, and offering your life in his service.

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