The Season of Lent


February 20, 2024

In the season of Lent, Biola University has daily reflections which incorporates music, poetry, art, and a reading from scripture to prepare for the celebration of Easter.
THE LENT PROJECT – 2/20/2024 – Below is the content for today. You can also visit The Lent Project link for today for the full experience by clicking on the link. The link for this day’s devotional is moved the bottom of the email on the next day. There also is a Daily Devotional that we will send to you each day.
Simply scroll down for the message of today, 2/20/2024.

There is also a Week Overview of the coming days of that particular week is provided from the Lent Project, will be placed below, for the first day of the week, and then moved to the bottom if you would like to refer back to it.

Day 7 – Monday, February 20, 2024

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (NKJV)
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Poetry & Poet: 
from “The Wasteland”
by T.S. Eliot

After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that
cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses
        If there were water

And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
And water
A spring
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water


The wilderness. Now there’s a phrase that captures meaning even before trying to figure out exactly where we’re going. A quick Google search defines “wilderness” as an environment void of human interaction––a place where the earth just grows alone. We coin the phrase “going out into the wild” with the intentionality of materialistically getting away from it all or perhaps roughing it on a camping trip in the backcountry. We tend to think of the wilderness as a place––rivers, valleys, forests, vast deserts––with animals, sure––but without people. The wilderness is a place of aloneness, isolation, and a place where nature runs…literally, wild.

We see the wilderness in Scripture, represented as a dry, barren place where the people who did venture into it were wandering, lost, and seemingly far from refuge, and really, the salvation of finding home. The wilderness is referred to as a desert waste (Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalms 68:7), a dry place (Psalms 78:17; 105:41), an unoccupied place without form (Deuteronomy 32:10: Job 12:24; Genesis 1:2), and we of course know about the wilderness wanderings of Israel (Exodus 16:1-14; Psalms 78:19, 40, 52; 95:8). In today’s verse in 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Paul likens the Corinthian church to the Israelites in their wilderness wanderings stemming from their exodus from Egypt.

But the wilderness can mean so much more than the physical place of the overgrown unknown. Revelation refers to the wilderness as a spiritual condition of dryness and emptiness (11:3; 12:6; 14-17:3-6). And really, that seemingly represents the lost and conflicted nature of both the Corinthians and Israelites within the Scriptures. They are lost in the physical wilderness and they are lost in spirit. But here’s the thing––while the physical representation of the wilderness is visually powerful and being literally lost is palpable, the intangible wilderness is a dangerous place indeed.

The intangible wilderness is an isolating place where we are held captive by our thoughts. We see that in the art, which depicts the artist, tortured and searching for inspiration, creativity, meaning, and purpose. Emanating from a single focal point and swirling around as if to represent an entire life lived in a moment of human fate, the stress and turmoil expressed in light and dark captures the conflict, the temptation, and the confusion of one’s own inner reality and the raw angst that we suffer from within. The enemy likes nothing more than to turn the wilderness of the soul into an internal warzone, or worse, a limbo––where, like in the poem for today, we read of confusion, ambiguity, and the longing for peace that seems so far away.

That’s what the Israelites were looking for but could not recognize it. That’s what Paul was imploring the Corinthian church to do differently––to resist temptation, remain faithful in the Lord, and to choose the path out of our inner wilderness that truly does surpass all understanding. After all, doing this provides what we all in a way are trying to find––and really, what is the opposite of the inner wilderness––peace.

Dear Father in heaven, we pray that in the stress and chaos of this world, that we can wrestle and tame the inner wilderness of our souls. That we can remember the fate of Israel and the words of Paul to the Corinthian church and choose the will of our Lord for our lives, which produces the peace and joy of traveling within the plan the Lord has for us.

Anna Sinclair
Assistant Professor of Public Relations
Biola University


February 18 – February 24

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” St. Paul famously wrote in Romans 3:23. A big part of the human condition is our ongoing struggle with sin. Sinfulness is a characteristic common to the entire human race; we are all guilty before a holy God. Throughout his letters, Paul paints a graphic picture of what sin is and the ravaging effects it can cause in our lives. Paul describes sin as a stronghold from which all need to be set free. Sin sabotages faith, numbs consciences, and weakens our dependence on the Almighty.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God solved the dilemma of a wayward people by sending Christ to die in our stead. In John 15:5 Jesus states, “Without me you can do nothing.” Separated from Christ we are condemned, undone. Chaos reigns supreme in our beings. Without his interceding mercy we cannot conquer the sins that continually derail us. In stark contrast, Paul confidently states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Jesus is our encouragement in all of life’s situations. The Scriptures tell us that without his strengthening assistance, we can do nothing.

Author Scott Hubbard reminds us, “If we are going to love Christ much, we need to remember the depths from which he saved us. If we are going to treasure all we have in Christ, we need to remember who we were without him. John Newton famously said on his deathbed, ‘I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great Savior.’” This week as we contemplate the “wages of sin,” may King David’s prayer be ours: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24).




RECTOR: The Rev. Lee A. Hutchson
PRIEST ASSOCIATE: The Rev. Dr. Sandi Levy-Mix
PRIEST ASSOCIATE: The Rev. Jerry M. Sneary

Class of 2024: Betty Horne (Senior Warden), Nancye Greenwood, Mike Shook
Class of 2025: Sallie Bright, Linda Fairtile, Jim Moss
Class of 2026: Garland Harwood (Junior Warden), Krestin Gibson, Bill White
Copyright © 2024 Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church All rights reserved.

Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church:
9000 Saint Martins Lane
Richmond, VA 23294
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