Introduction to the readings for the first Sunday in Lent,

Lent is the season in the church year when we can be intentional about making space for life’s difficult questions. 

It’s a time when we can set aside time to consider how easily we ignore the mystery of God’s unfolding purpose for our lives.

It’s a time when we are invited to reflect on how we also dismiss God’s guiding hand.

We begin with the Genesis reading which immerses us in the ancient story of how God came to establish a covenant with all living things. 

After the Great Flood, we discover a no longer vengeful, reactive God, but One who provides a model of transformation of the heart. 

In this story it’s  a transformation of heart that happens both for God and for God’s beloved ones.

A reading from the book of Genesis, Chapter 9, verses 8-17 “The Covenant between God and Noah”

….insert the reading here… 

In response to the enormity of this story, we sing together from More Voices, # 90 “Don’t Be Afraid”.

…sing…

The gospel of Mark, unlike the more wordy gospels of Matthew and Luke, provides us with a bare bones account of the inauguration of Jesus’ public ministry.  Once again we hear the story of how Jesus is prepared for his fate at Jerusalem as he is named, claimed, and commissioned by God as God’s own Beloved on the banks of the Jordan River. 

As we journey with Jesus this Lenten season, we remember that the though our personal wilderness experiences can feel threatening and dangerous, they can also be experiences of great hope and faith formation.

A Reading from the gospel according to Mark, Chapter 1, verses 9-15.  “The Baptism, Temptation, and Mission of Jesus”.

….insert the reading here….

Response:  Through these words from long ago,

All:  May we hear God’s living Word.