Text: Mark 1:9-15
Most of the decisions we make are premeditated, logical, and meant to make life simpler. I have made several such decisions already this morning: Which tie should I wear so that my wife and daughter are not embarrassed to be seen with me? Out of the nine different possibilities, what is the easiest and fastest route to get from the parking lot to my office in the church? How many times should I look through this sermon before preaching it? I hope the answer doesn’t end up being at least one more time.
Some decisions, though, come from a very different place. They are born from compulsion, a sense that we must do something even if it makes life more challenging. I was reminded of this kind of decision recently when a dear friend called me. The last time I had been with her had been difficult and we had parted in an irritable way. When she called there was urgency in her voice and she said, “I was running this morning and it hit me that I had to call you and say that I love you.” Because she did not ignore the urge to make that call she instantly healed the pain between us.
Jesus understood what it felt like to be compelled to do something challenging. On this first Sunday of Lent we have heard the traditional text describing Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness following his baptism. Lent is modeled after this story, a time when all Christians are invited to enter into 40 days of serious spiritual searching.