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Thursday, February 25, 2016

First Sunday in Lent: What tempts you?

2/14 

For this First Sunday in Lent, I sing the old standard, Farther Along… 




And after reading Luke 9: 28-43, we begin our reflection.

So it’s Valentine’s Day…and the first Sunday of Lent..and I’m not sure how to bring those two together…except to say a few things about Valentine’s Day…it’s got that Hallmark kind of romance around it…but what if you're not in a relationship? Well, it’s kind of painful. I think we need to move beyond sweethearts and those candy hearts with those clever sayings on them to think about the importance for friends. A very wise person once said Friends will get you through times of no lovers better than lovers will let you through times of no friends…Maybe that’s all I need to say…

Lent …we have 40 days of self –reflection, self-criticism. Self-assessment . 40 days to get us ready for the celebration of the Resurrection and new life.

A second shot at those New Year’s resolutions…

It’s about the length of spring training. (Pitchers and catchers start next week…) This is Jesus’ training session for what’s to come.

Notice…it's the same spirit that blessed him at his baptism that drives him into the wilderness…

And we’ve got this whole wrestling match with the devil… but I’ve  got to tell you, it’s hard for me to get a hold of.  This devil seems to be more like the Satan we met in Job. The prosecuting attorney. The accuser. Almost like he’s in league with God. Like Rocky training Apollo Creed’s son for the big fight.

And we even have to wonder, is he hearing these voices in his head? What are the accusing  we hear in our heads?

Let’s look at the temptations…

The first…stones to bread..to feed the hungry…was misquoted in we are the world

As God has shown us by turning stone to bread
So we all must lend a helping hand




..in fact God didn’t change stones to bread, that was a tempting offer by the devil…as a a Jehovah’s witness, MJ should have known that…
Then there’s the offer of kingdoms. The devil says, …for it has been given over to me…well, ok…by whom? For what purpose? What’s going on here?

And the devil keeps calling him son of god…which Jesus, check this out, never calls himself…

Finally the Evil Knievel challenge…the Nick Wallenda’s walk across Niagara Falls…Philipe Petite’s Twin towers  walk..the David Blane stand on a tower in union park or buried alive routine…and Jesus says NO to all…just to get people to believe in him…and the devil eve quotes scripture..

Finally…the devil departs until an opportune time…so what does that mean? When Jesus is most vulnerable….like maybe in the Garden?

It’s not like dancing girls, cocaine and lavish goods the devil is offering here…everything he offers is GOOD…it's the offer of accomplishing what Jesus was sent here to do…

Jesus’ temptation is to take the easy way out..what a thing to ponder in this primary season…we face those choices  daily…

I love the Hilary Clinton perspective:   Don’t let the (achievable) good be the enemy  of the perfect……

What I come down to is that God is God. It's no dualistic , binary world we live in. Like Stephen Mitchell has God say in his translation of Job ….your problem is you think someone else is in here… there’s only me…

Jesus is like Jacob, godwrestling….at the fork of the Jabbok

Jesus in training for the ultimate fight , the fight with  death…

Does the devils turn to God and  say, OK, he’s good to go?

We’ve got 40 days to get in shape…

so please, let us  help each other….






GOSPEL LUKE 9:28-36 (37-43)

So.
28Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and So it’swent up on the mountain to pray. 29And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah" — not knowing what he said. 34While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 35Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" 36When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
37On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. 38Just then a man from the crowd shouted, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. 39Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. 40I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not." 41Jesus answered, "You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here." 42While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43And all were astounded at the greatness of God.



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