Time for Change

This year, I am again following the Big Read using Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone – Mark.  I’ll reflect here – if you’re following it too, or even if you’re not, please share with me.

Mark 1:1-9

The Preaching of John the Baptist

1This is the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2It began just as God had said in the book written by Isaiah the prophet,

“I am sending my messenger

to get the way ready

for you.

3In the desert

someone is shouting,

`Get the road ready

for the Lord!

Make a straight path

for him.’ ”

4So John the Baptist showed up in the desert and told everyone, “Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven.”

5From all Judea and Jerusalem crowds of people went to John. They told how sorry they were for their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.

6John wore clothes made of camel’s hair. He had a leather strap around his waist and ate grasshoppers and wild honey.

7John also told the people, “Someone more powerful is going to come. And I am not good enough even to stoop down and untie his sandals. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”

The Baptism of Jesus

9About that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River.

St John the Baptist by Titian

Tom makes the point (p2) that, even in his day, John the Baptist’s behaviour and lifestyle would have been odd. I’d never really thought of that before. But his behaviour is not strange for strange sake, it is to make a point

‘It’s time for a change’.

It can be very easy to get caught up in living our lives, to plod along just trying to get through, doing our best.  But in doing so, we can get caught up in habits, we can rely on learnt reactions, we go with what we have become used to.  We do not always have, or take, the time and opportunity to think what we do, and why we do it.

Perhaps in our lives,

It’s time for a change

– or at least to have a look.

I used to wonder what the point of Lent was.  Now I see it as an opportunity to take time, to see where I am.  Am I where I should be?  Do I behave as I should? What thing are happening in my life that would be better for all concerned if they weren’t?  What is God wanting to do in my life that I am stopping him?  What temptations and traps am I falling in to?

But none of this is to make me feel bad, or to fuel a guilt trip, it’s part of preparing our lives for the new things God wants to do.

Just before Christmas and birthdays, I always made my children clear out their toys.  If you were going to get some new things, you had to make space for them by getting rid of the old, damaged and grown out of.

The same is true of life.  God has so much he longs to give us – do we need to make room, to have a clear out, to make space for God?

God is coming, and we do well to prepare ourselves.  Are we ready?

What is it time to change – in my life and yours?

Lord,

we collect so much “stuff” in our lives,

behaviours,

habits,

reactions…

Some of them are good,

but others are dragging us down,

worn out,

inappropriate,

and taking up space where you could be.

This Lent,

may I take time to stop,

reflect,

think seriously,

and clean out,

that I may be prepared and uncluttered

for all you want to do

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