Sunday 18 February 2024

Today is Sunday the 18th of February, the first Sunday of Lent.

The choir of Portsmouth Cathedral sing Psalm 42. ‘Like as the Hart desireth the waterbrooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God.’

Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks: so longeth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God: when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?
My tears have been my meat day and night: while they daily say unto me, Where is now thy God?
Now when I think thereupon, I pour out my heart by myself: for I went with the multitude, and brought them forth into the house of God;
In the voice of praise and thanksgiving: among such as keep holy-day.
Why art thou so full of heaviness, O my soul: and why art thou so disquieted within me?
Put thy trust in God: for I will yet give him thanks for the help of his countenance.
My God, my soul is vexed within me: therefore will I remember thee concerning the land of Jordan, and the little hill of Hermon.
One deep calleth another, because of the noise of the water-pipes: all thy waves and storms are gone over me.
The Lord hath granted his loving-kindness in the day-time: and in the night-season did I sing of him, and made my prayer unto the God of my life.
I will say unto the God of my strength, Why hast thou forgotten me: why go I thus heavily, while the enemy oppresseth me?
My bones are smitten asunder as with a sword: while mine enemies that trouble me cast me in the teeth;
Namely, while they say daily unto me: Where is now thy God?
Why art thou so vexed, O my soul: and why art thou so disquieted within me?
O put thy trust in God: for I will yet thank him, which is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Mark.

Mark 1: 12-15

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’

Jesus goes back to basics, to the very heart of creation, living in the wild as one creature among others. His Gospel begins with a wake-up call: God’s kingdom has come near. Is there a wake-up call that you are hearing in your life this Lent?

Jesus challenges his hearers to repent and believe in the good news. In our world people are all too ready to believe in bad news, but it can be hard to believe that all will be well in the face of current events. What is the good news that God is inviting you to believe?

As you hear the reading again, what part of it draws you specially? Does anything stay with you as you hear God calling our world back to basics?

Other Gospel narratives speak of Jesus feeling hungry in the desert. As we end this first week of Lent, what do you find yourself hungering and thirsting for in your life? Speak to the God whose kingdom is drawing near, expressing all that is in your heart and asking for whatever you need.

You have given all to me
To you Lord, I return it
Everything is Yours
Do with it what you will
Give me only your love and your grace
That, is enough for me.

Sunday, 18 February
1st week of Lent
00:00 -00:00