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Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Look: At this image of a bakery shop window.  What is your first impression as you pass by on the street?  Stop for a moment and gaze at the selection.  Each piece beautifully placed in an artistic arrangement.  Imagine the door is open, as the aromas of chocolate, spices and sugary sweets greet you.  Perhaps these are items you have “given up” for Lent.  Look more deeply.  What engages you, and why?

Reflect: On the first Sunday in Lent, the Collect points to the familiar story of the temptation of Jesus. Famished, weak, after a prolonged period of isolation and fasting, Jesus meets the personification of all that is evil in this world.  And is tempted. As Luke tells the story, Satan tempts Jesus, first simply to satisfy his physical hunger by turning stones into bread.  Consider your personal hunger now.  What is it that you yearn for so deeply?  Where do you turn to have that hunger satisfied?

Act: Today turn your attention away from your own needs, your own hunger.  As you pray the Collect, keep in mind that God provides you with all the strength you need to withstand whatever causes you to be self-centered, or seeking power or fame.  As did Jesus, take time today to prepare yourself to leave the isolated wilderness and move out into the world to perform some act of kindness and compassion, perhaps to satisfy the hunger of someone in need.  What do you choose to do?

Thanks for taking part in New and Contrite Hearts. Your comments are very welcome—let others know what you saw and experienced. Until next time, may you have a most blessed Lent.

Music: “Ambient Sonata”  /Album:  Ambient Sonata  /Artist: Dee Yan-Key

Image:  “Pasticciere (Pastry Shop)”  /Place:   Tuscany, Italy  /Photographer: Jon Shematek