Lent invites us once again to slack off a bit. Give up something and take on something. Shake it up a bit and stir up the spiritual life a little by taking a step back.
While we might view Lent as a sure plan for a failed New Year's Resolution, the Scriptures for Sunday view Christ setting out into the desert for a different plan. He took off for the hills above Jericho, to a stony, desolate place where he accepted the spiritual discipline of fasting for 40 days and 40 nights all alone. Well, almost alone.
For Jesus, the desert temptation meant flirting with more than illusions of grandeur. And if Jesus did not think of these enticements himself, a tempter was on hand to remind him. And it turned into a war with hunger, wild beasts and the devil himself.
We are reminded that Lent is a season when we might reflect on making room for the most important things. The truth we discover, as we unplug and unwind, lies in the fact that the Spirit continues to lead human beings to a place of spiritual rest so that we might prepare for what lies ahead. Tethered only to God, we realize what truly nourishes and feeds us in lonely places.