I find it interesting that we are entering the season of Lent, a time of penance and introspection, and the Old Testament lesson talks about Rainbows. There is a little girl at this house, and the place is full of rainbows, as well as pink ponies, sweetness, and love. There doesn’t seem to be much contemplation and self-examination in that kind of thing.
But then the one talking about Rainbows in the Bible passage was God himself, and that is a somewhat different message than that of color and pretty and little girls. God was pointing to the fact that He loved his creation; and he had made the decision to never again flood the Earth to rid it of evil. He thought too much of it all, and too much of us. That message is one we should hold onto. God loves His creation, and that means all of us. That fact alone should bring a smile to our faces.
The rest of the lessons tell how God shows compassion and love, and teaches us His ways and truths of love and faithfulness to those who keep his covenant and testimonies. That teaching, assisted by the church, is what Lent is all about. God has shown us his love and compassion and we should show the same to others, too.
The Gospel lesson tells of Jesus going into the wilderness for forty days, where the devil would tempt him, and wild beasts would be around him. This happened just after the wonderful announcement at his baptism, When God said: “You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased.” With that knowledge, and the presence of Angels to wait on him Jesus had a period away from the everyday world in which to learn what God the Father wanted of Him.
Lent is about the same length of time, forty days, (we don’t count Sundays) and we need all those days to do those same learning things God needs us to know in order to be in good relationship with Him.
We learn that we probably are not as nice as we thought we were. We learn that the first commandment is to love God. That is the one rule we forget quite often, because we are more intent on being loved, than loving.
We learn that we are to love others as ourselves and we are not the center of receiving love, but like God, we should be the center of giving love. When we do so we find that the world is surely a place of rainbows, color, sweetness and love.
I wish you a Holy Lent.
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.