(9 March 2014, 22 Feb. 2015)
O LORD, who for our sake did fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey your godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to your honor and glory, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hates nothing that you have made and forgives the sins of all them that are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Genesis 2:15-3:7; Psalm 91:1-12; 2 Corinthians 6:1-10; Matthew 4:1-11
On this first Sunday in Lent, we address the very beginning of the problem of sin: temptation. The Old Testament reading reminds us that temptation is where Adam and Eve failed, thus bringing sin and death to the entire human race. This is contrasted in the Gospel reading wherein Jesus is also tempted by the devil and refuses to give in and sin. Jesus rightly understands and applies the power and promise of God, such as described in the Psalm, even when the devil quotes from the same. His example for us here is twofold: we are to fight temptation with the discipline of studying the Scriptures (as the Gospel demonstrates) and the discipline of fasting (as the Collect points out). So we are called, as in the Epistle reading, to this “acceptable time” to receive the salvation that Christ has prepared for us.