Lent is a time to experience the power of the desert

Easter, with its grace of interior resurrection, is the radical healing of the human condition. Lent, which prepares us for this grace, is about what needs to be healed.” Thomas Keating, The Mystery of Christ.

Growing up and then spending most of my adult life in an evangelical church meant that I never learnt very much about the Church’s liturgical seasons, and certainly had very little interest is subjects like Advent or Lent. In the last few years, I’ve discovered their beauty. They have power in emphasizing powerful Biblical truths, they focus our faith on aspects of Christ’s transforming work and they provide a mysterious kind of rhythm to a year a little the four seasons repeating themselves for the purposes of the spiritual journey.

Lent is a time to “experience the transforming power of the desert” and to prepare our hearts for the resurrection power implied by Easter when Christ brings new life to our fallen human nature. Lent is an invitation for us to join each year in Christ’s temptation in the desert for 40 days is described in Matthew 4. The spiritual desert is not a place but a process of interior purification. During Lent we chose something to sacrifice (say chocolate) as an invitation for God to exposure our false self nature that tries to “find love in all of the wrong places”. If invited, God exposes our unhealthy need for security, our unhealthy need for affirmation and our unhealthy need for control. These are the three temptations Christ faced in the desert as he modeled living a divinely empowered life in all of the weakness of human nature. In each of those three pillars of the false self (or sinful nature), Christ found his needs met in the true love and presence of God.

This video is a recording from a weekly small group that pursues a deepening the experience of centering prayer, Christian meditation or “silent waiting on God” as the Bible terms it.

To learn the foundations of centering prayer, watch, listen to or read our 8 session introductory course.

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