The A2A Subcommittee of the UCCDM Board has invited persons associated with UCCDM to write devotional entries for the major days and Sundays of Lent 2014. We hope you enjoy this journey of looking at Lent through the lens of disability.~Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas
Our first Lenten Devotional for this Ash Wednesday comes from Dr. Kevin Pettit, UCCDM Board Member.
What is this period in the church calendar called Lent and what is its significance?
I know that Lent is a traditional time of fasting meant to promote a person’s reflections of the time of Jesus in the wilderness; but I have a strong feeling that the time of Lent can have a much greater significance than simply a commemoration of the forty days which Jesus spent fasting in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, where he endured temptations by the Devil. Is not the time of Lent also a commemoration of a time of atonement for our God and humanity? Are we all not, like Jesus in the wilderness, tempted to fall short of what God has intended for us?
I believe that it was only through his hunger and temptation in the wilderness that Jesus came to learn of the struggles that we each feel. Of course, none of us struggle against the specific temptation to exert divine powers to turn stones into bread, the temptation to idly test our God’s concern and power, or the temptation of world domination; but, during the 40 days in the wilderness that we commemorate during Lent, Jesus was being tempted to drop the heavy mantle of his own humanity and separate himself from us in fundamental ways. He was, however, not dissuaded from his mission by these temptations. Indeed, it is in his decision not to give into these temptations that we first see Jesus choosing to live as the human who would become our Messiah.
Though we might be tempted to commemorate this decision of Jesus by feasting Mardi Gras weekly, we are called by Christian tradition to follow Jesus and his travels in the wilderness by actively rejecting copious consumption. Mirroring in a veiled way Jesus’ rejection of the temptation to be more than human, in this time of Lent we are asked to reflect on the ways in which we each fall short of reaching the human potential given to us by our creator. We are also called at all times to struggle to reach this potential by giving of ourselves and attempting to improve the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. After all, this was also the response of Jesus to this time as well!