First Sunday in Lent

February 21, 2021
Primary Text: Mark 1:9-15
Big Idea of the Message: Again & Again, God Meets Us
God meets Jesus at the water before he is tempted in the wilderness—this is important. First and foremost, God claims us. God meets us in the liminal space, at the water’s edge, at the threshold of something new, and names us Beloved. God’s covenant with all of creation reminds us that God meets us where we are—in the midst of our reluctance, doubt, eagerness, or weariness—and proclaims we are good.

Discussion Questions:
  • While each gospel begins the story of the good news differently, they all include Jesus’ baptism as the precursor to his ministry. This consistent detail emphasizes a number of things. It aligns Jesus with John the Baptist’s countercultural movement for repentance and change. It shows that Jesus begins his ministry with those on the margins, as he travels over 100 miles from Galilee to wade into the Jordan river near Jerusalem. It places Jesus with the crowds, showing us that his ministry is one embodied through solidarity with the broken, the poor, and the weary. It reminds us that God’s goodness refrain (Genesis 1) echoes through Jesus—and in all of us—also. It reminds us that God didn’t just send Jesus to suffer; God delights in Jesus, expressing joy for his belovedness. It reminds us that God does not delight in what we do, but rather, in who we are. Why else is Jesus’ baptism significant? 
  • How has God come to you, time and again, in your life? 
  • What does it look like to live with belovedness as our essential core and essence? 
  • How does this change how we think, love, and act? 
  • What happens when we forget or neglect the belovedness in ourselves and in others? 
  • God meets us at the edge of things—in suffering, uncertainty, reluctance. God meets us at the edge and promises to stay with us, watching over us through the wilderness of our lives. Where are the edges in your life right now and how is God meeting you there?