Lent Pilgrimage Week 1

Lent Stories

This is the first of my Lent Pilgrimage blogs. For the next seven weeks, I will be looking at one aspect of the story of Jesus’s last days, and his death and resurrection. This week I’m looking at what Lent means. Each week I will share an excerpt from my first novel Leaving Bethany.

What would you say if I were to ask you to define a story? Perhaps a story is an account of events or incidents. You might tell me it is a narrative of what happened when… We all know a story when we read or see one on the screen but defining it is a little more difficult.

As an author, I write stories. Stories that lead the characters and the readers towards the truth of God and about themselves. In my novel Leaving Bethany, I tell the story of Martha who invited Jesus into her home and became a disciple. She followed Jesus into Jerusalem to see the crowds waving and was at his arrest and trial. She witnessed his death and went to the tomb early on Sunday morning when everything changed. She was part of Jesus’s story, and he invites us to take our place in his continuing story.

The life of each of us is a story, with a beginning, middle and end, and we are all part of God’s redemptive story. Jesus came into our world and lived amongst us, dying, rising and redeeming us. The Christian life can be understood as more of a story than a philosophy or religion. We live through our lives facing trials, and discomforts, with highs and lows along the way.

Lent is traditionally a time of prayer and self-reflection for Christians. It lasts for over six weeks from Ash Wednesday and ends the day before Easter Sunday. This season of self-denial and facing up to difficulties evoke the sense of pilgrimage, where we leave behind our creature comforts, to journey towards an encounter with God in a different way than usual. The Christian life can be described as a pilgrimage or a journey. As we shift our attention away from our own needs and onto God’s presence.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and reminds us of our mortality and the need to be put right with God. Many Christians observe the day with fasting, and some church traditions will make the sign of the cross in ash across people’s foreheads.

No pilgrimage is ever solitary and neither is the Christian life, so it will be lovely to journey with you this Lent as we travel towards the cross and the tomb. Along the way, we will stop and read short excerpts from Leaving Bethany. Next week we journey to Jerusalem and the beginning of Jesus’s journey to the cross.

Photo by Ahna Ziegler on Unsplash

Photo by Raul Petri on Unsplash

Photo by Billy Pasco on Unspalsh

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

This was to be the pivotal point in my life. There was my life before that moment, and now there is my life after that moment. Jesus stood and looked at me with those penetrating brown eyes.

“My dear Martha,” he said, “you’re worried and upset about the work you consider necessary. Do you know what’s important in life? There’s only one thing, and Mary has found it. So, I will not take it away from her.”

If that was not surprising enough, he held out his hand. “Why don’t you come and join us?”

Leaving Bethany page 4

Next week we look at when Jesus entered Jerusalem and the enthusiasm of the crowds.

Susan Sutherland is the author of three books. To buy Leaving Bethany and the sequel Return to Caesarea please go to the buy page.

If you like Susan’s blogs sign up for the mailing list and receive a free copy of The Aemilia Metella Interviews.

4 thoughts on “Lent Pilgrimage Week 1

  1. Thank you, Susan. I now you wrote this weeks ago, but I’m ready to read through them now. When I read your beautiful excerpt about Martha’s encounter that day, it reminded me of words in Romans that I read and copied out of the Message translation today:
    ‘But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God.’
    Romans 13:11


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: