A Vision for Lent
March 2 was Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent. These 40 days of penitence and turning to God before Easter, recall Jesus’ 40 days of wilderness temptation, right after his baptism. Jesus started with fullness, from hearing God the Father’s voice from heaven, telling Jesus he was God’s beloved Son, with whom God was well-pleased. Jesus was strengthened at his baptism to go into the desert, where he faced loneliness and temptation.
Fast forward to the end of Jesus’ life. Near the end, Jesus was transfigured on the mountain, and the disciples beheld his radiant glory. They also saw Moses and Elijah, whose work was fulfilled in Christ. They heard God’s voice speak as it had at Jesus’ baptism, telling of the Father’s love for the Son. This vision, and this community of love, strengthened the disciples for what lay ahead. Jesus would soon go the cross and die an excruciating death in a perversion of justice.
Transfiguration Mosaic, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9)
In these troubled times around the world, we are not sure what lies ahead. Whatever comes, seek and hold on to this vision of Jesus’ glory, of his Lordship over heaven and earth. Seek and hold onto a Christian community of love. God longs to show you his face in intimate communion. As you seek him, God will show you ways to share his love with others, near and far. Cry out to God for the needs of the world, knowing that your prayers do make a difference.
Know that in Christ, God suffers with us and for us. He weeps, and he sends the Holy Spirit to weep and groan within us. Sometimes, that’s all we can do.
Know that this vision of Christ at the Transfiguration, points to his resurrection, his ascension, and his return in glory.
My image below speaks of Christ’s Transfiguration, Resurrection, Ascension & Return; the Holy Spirit is above Christ’s head and the Father’s welcoming hand is in the upper right.
One way to hold on to these things is to ask the Lord Christ to reveal himself to you, through community, through the beauty of Creation, through his word in Scripture.
We have just ended the season of Epiphany, celebrating Christ’s revelation as Lord of All, to the magi (and thus the Gentiles) who followed the star. Anglican Bishop Cameron writes, “For Christians, Jesus is the light of the world, a star by whom we can navigate through life.”
During Epiphany, I was one of many people who took time to choose a “star word,” a guiding word or phrase from Scripture. These words may be written on a star-shaped piece of paper or wood. The Reformed Worship journal states, “The wise [ones]…received God’s gift, then offered their gifts to God…we delight in this reminder that symbolizes God’s generosity in our lives…people are yearning for tangible, clear signs of God’s presence.”
(CRAFT TIP: Rub tempera paint on wood with a baby wipe as a simple way to bring out the wood grain.)
The “star word” that God gave me is RENEW: “Those who wait for the Lord will RENEW their strength (Isa. 40:31).” “We do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being RENEWED every day (2 Cor. 4:16).” Each day, I see the star and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I meditate on God’s word of renewal for me.
As we enter the shadows of the Lenten season, may God’s Living Word continue to shine in our hearts, and guide us all our days. Seek Christ’s beautiful face.
“Until the day breathes
and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain…you are altogether beautiful my love.”
(Song of Solomon 4:6,7)
(Detail below from my Triumphal Entry/Palm Sunday painting, available on my website as a visual liturgy at: www.BarbaraBjelland.com)
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: How do you receive a “vision” of Christ’s beauty and glory? Through God’s Word, through Creation, through community?
 Gregory Kenneth Cameron, An Advent Book of Days: Meeting the Characters of Christmas (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2021), p. 55.
 Susan Foster, Star Gifts: Words to Ponder All Year Long, Reformed Worship 93, ©September 2009, Worship Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church, last accessed Jan. 13, 2022.
Thanks for pointing me to this glorious "Vision for Lent!"