Lent tears us from the glow of Christmastide and Epiphany and propels us into a harsh new season. The early warning signs—the flight into Egypt, Rachel’s uncontrollable wailing, the talk of the cost of discipleship—were easy to gloss over while the “Noels” were still ringing in our ears. But now it is Lent, and the same Holy Spirit who gave Jesus life has led him to the Place of Devastation, that he might be tested.
What a rapid descent from that mountaintop of Transfiguration to this desert of Temptation. Even as the disciples saw a different face of Jesus revealed in the high presence of God, another face will be unveiled at sea level. The Son of Man now wears a face of sheer determination and conviction. Pared down. Transparent. Uncompromising. In the wilderness, all music stops and the silence is deafening.