First Sunday in Lent: A Time for Self-Awareness

First Sunday in Lent: A Time for Self-Awareness
Photo by Mark Greathouse, from the 2020 Prayer Calendar.

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 and Mathew 4:1-11

It has been five weeks since I arrived in the U.S. from Kenya for my master’s in divinity program. Five weeks of getting to know, settling and taking care of what God has led me into. I can’t even think of how many times I have said NO or said YES to questions, suggestions and statements. The only thing I am sure of is that I am aware!

Think of those situations you have been in. The situations where the only words you could use were “no” or “yes,” before you get a chance to explain.

This brings me to the reflection for the First Sunday in Lent. In Genesis, Adam and Eve are tempted by the serpent. But they get it wrong. They give a “yes” answer. In Matthew, Jesus is tempted by the devil, after getting an assurance of being the Son of God. Jesus gets it right, with a “no” answer.

Two Sides

I am fascinated by these two sides. Many times in our lives we have followed the rules, done the right things and said “no.” But what happens next is not what we think was meant to happen. So we feel something is missing. In this void we find no wholeness, no feeling of integrity, nor passion. We may have values and principles, but when we get to the outside world, what we do and express contradicts what we hold inside. A disconnect between the intra and inter. What is this disconnect? Temptation? Self -denial or lack of knowing oneself? After being tempted, Adam and Eve acquire a new level of consciousness. Although life becomes hard and complex, it is more real and maybe more beautiful. The same goes for Jesus. The connection between these two discordant Biblical events is that they both represent  a time of gaining self-knowledge.

During this Lenten season, God is inviting us to a point of no/yes. A point of new awareness! A point of new awakening! A point of new consciousness! It is not a point of falling or of hiding away from God, ourselves or another. God invites us to turn pain into beauty. Deformation into wholeness. Division into integrity. Turn hopes into realities. Because our lives are made of the two sides. And we are called to bring healing and create new lives.

Dear Loving and Merciful God help us to have divine self-knowledge. Self-awareness that will help us understand and love You, ourselves and our neighbors. Let not temptation and self-denial supersede our self-knowledge.

Leah Wandera is the acting CEO of Hope Foundation for African Women and the Founder and BoD secretary for Mama’s Smile Health Foundation. Wandera is currently a first year graduate student at Drew University, New Jersey, pursuing a master’s degree in Divinity – Social Justice Advocacy. She is also a Deaconess candidate with United Methodist Women. Wandera was born and raised in Busia county, in the western region of Kenya.

Posted or updated: 2/28/2020 12:00:00 AM

Give Thanks. Give Now.

Lent and Easter 2020

February 26: Ash Wednesday
March 1: First Sunday in Lent
March 8: Second Sunday in Lent
March 15: Third Sunday in Lent
March 22: Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 29: Fifth Sunday in Lent
April 5: Palm Sunday
April 9: Maundy Thursday
April 10: Good Friday
April 12: Easter Sunday