Led… Makes me think of the kids that I make my “special helper” so they can stand by me, and “help me” lead the class somewhere. In reality, it is so I can hold their hand and make sure I do not lose them. The student thinks they are leading, but in reality they are being led.
Being led can be a good thing, or a harmful thing. Who or what is leading us? Jesus was led into the desert after his baptism and the declaration by John the Baptist and the Trinity of who He was. Jesus was led for 40 days into the wilderness. Seems an interesting way to start a public ministry. His life wasn’t really about the public ministry, although that was a huge part. It was about beginning the trek toward the cross. He pressed on, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”. (Hebrews 12:2)
The wilderness was a full emptying and filling of Jesus to be fully in tune with who He was, and His true purposes. Today is the first day of Lent, a forty day trek in full view of the cross, taking up our cross daily to be fully aware of the cost, but with added gratitude for the life that was purchased for us on the cross, and the death that was overcome by the resurrection. We are invited into a wilderness season to empty out all that needs to go to receive with open hands all the gifts waiting for us on the other side.
I love the way Dorothy Sayer explains this season:
Lent is not intended to be an annual ordeal during which we begrudgingly forgo a handful of pleasures. It is meant to be the church’s springtime, a time when, out of the darkness of sin’s winter, a repentant, empowered people emerges.
Put another way, Lent is the season in which we ought to be surprised by joy. Our self-sacrifices serve no purpose unless, by laying aside this or that desire, we are able to focus on our heart’s deepest longing: unity with Christ. In him—in his suffering and death, his resurrection and triumph—we find our truest joy. — Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
Lent is a good time to ask what or who leads me? And then as I lay those things that hinder my identity and true purpose aside, to be anticipating new joys that can only be found by following after the one who led the way to abundant life.