ST JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH
AMESBURY, MASSACHUSETTS


In the Desert (40 Days)

for the week of February 21, 2021

What you need: a watch, clock, or timer; a quiet creative activity; a candle (if it's okay, or an intentional object like a cross); a Bible, if you'd like; paper; something to write with; a snack. Have your class with a sibling or other family members, or enjoy this time by yourself.

1) Begin with a transition time - Peace & Quiet: enjoy a creative activity for about 10 minutes (journaling, clay, Legos, drawing, etc.) - a time to change gears.

2) Next, clear that space, or move to another space, and light a candle (or place your intentional object). Settle in, and say a prayer, like: Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105). Offer more prayers, silently, or out loud, if you want.

3) Here are the appointed readings for February 21, 2021. Find them in your Bible, or click here: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/lectionary/lent-1b/. Read them out loud.

Our focus for this class =
Mark 1:9-13

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized
by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water,
he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.
And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
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.

(Check out The Temptation of Christ in Luke and Matthew, too)

Why did the Spirit "drive Jesus out"?
(Not drive, like in a car, though that's kind of funny to ponder, but more like - pushed him, led him, directed him - like how a sheepdog or cow herder moves animals, sometimes against their will, from one place to another.)
  • Why drive - why not just suggest?
  • Did Jesus have a choice?

What do you know about the wilderness? Sometimes the Biblical "wilderness" was a place where sheep could graze; not this wilderness, though! Jesus' wilderness was a desert.
  • Is there a wilderness around here?
  • Why go to the wilderness?
  • What can happen in the wilderness as opposed to, say, in your house?

"Forty days" What's up with 40? Forty can be literally forty, or it can be figurative = a very long time. As this pdf (so many 40s!) suggests, "the Holy Scriptures disclose to us that the number 40 is used by God to represent a period of testing, preparation and/or judgment."
  • When have you had times of (figurative) 40?
  • How should we respond to the challenges of "40"? Start with The Lord's Prayer.

"Tempted by Satan" Ugh, he told Jesus to make rocks into bread; he said throw yourself down off this mountain, don't be a baby; he said all this can be yours, worship me! What did Jesus reply? He said NO! Get away from me, Satan.
  • Old Testament passages from Deuteronomy ("it is written") support each of Jesus' choices. What words or sayings support your decisions?
  • What have you ever had Satan suggest to you? SAY NO. (You have support, btw.)
  • Remember these words: "Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?" "I will, with God's help."

"With the wild beasts. . ." not a comfortable place to be, maybe?
  • What is the writer (Mark) suggesting, when he has us picture Jesus surrounded by wild animals?

"The angels waited on him" (Not waited for = where is he?, but waited on = took care of his needs, maybe without Jesus asking for or even knowing just what he needed.)
  • What would you like the angels to do for you? How could they serve you?
  • How can you serve yourself?
  • How can you serve others?

Okay, bonus question: if the Holy Spirit drove a car - or was a car! - what would it be? Why?
4) Think about what you read, chat about it if you have company, look it up online (if allowed) and see if there's commentary about it – do you agree? Do you feel called to do something?

5) Brainstorm & make a poster:
Top 10 Temptations and/or
Top 10 Ways to Resist Temptation.
Take a pic or write your list & email it to me!

6) Snack time! Prayers first: talk to God! "I'm grateful for, I'm worried about, I ask for" etc. And/or take 5 or more minutes for Centering Prayer: relaxing into peace & letting thoughts go. Breathe! Enjoy your snack.

7) Finally, clean up your space(s), and say a closing prayer, like:
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. - Plato.

8) Blow out the candle, or put away the intentional object (or leave it there if you'd like to create a little sacred area) and say out loud:
Go now in peace, to love and serve the Lord! Thanks be to God! ALLELUIA!
Come to a ZOOM CLASS on Friday - February 19
6:30pm, Friday, 2/19: Zoom link will be emailed - or text Linda
Zoom youth class every third Friday!
Lent is here! Check out this recent email about it.
Lent playlists, too - here are two:
"Ashes" (56 songs)
"Fellowship - Lent" (40 songs)
Pick up ashes, a tiny desert, and other materials at church, in the narthex.
Here's a timetable - or lmk if you need a different time or whatever!

Tell me about your experiences these past many months. What's good, what's bad? Etc.!
Sending prayers for hope, joy, justice, dignity, love, and peace + a blessed, healthy Lent! Linda
Adults: Please share this email with youth. If you'd like me also to send these emails to the kids, please email me their addresses & your permission. Thanks! Linda