The promise and risk of life come to us asking for a response. Jesus had decisions to make. And so do we. We make decisions everyday of our life; decisions and choices about what to do, who we want to be, how we want to live. We sometimes call them temptations. We feel torn and pulled between the promise and the risk. Temptations hold before us the illusion of promise without risk. But that’s not the way the wilderness works, and Jesus knows that.
With each decision we’re betting that the future will be better, not because it necessarily is, but because it might be. And that “might,” the possibility of a better future, of more life, is what gives us the strength, the faith, the hope, to risk a decision and remain open to the future, even when we don’t know how it will turn out. Continue reading Life Is Promise And Risk – A Sermon On Luke 4:1-13
Lent 1A: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 and Matthew 4:1-11 Over the last several years I’ve begun to see and understand Lent and temptations, the struggles in my life, in a different way. It used to be that I thought about those things in terms of self-denial: just say no, don’t do this, don’t do that; and everything will be fine. But then life got complicated. It … Continue reading Two Questions for Lent – A Sermon on Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 and Matthew 4:1-11
What if temptation is necessary? What if temptation can be our teacher or a diagnosis? What tempts you? What tempts you into living less than who you really are? Continue reading What If Temptation is Necessary?
Luke 4:1-13 Jesus overcame the temptations in the wilderness. He made it possible for us to overcome our temptations. Be like Jesus and just say no. Does that sound familiar? I wonder if that’s how we often hear today’s gospel (Luke 4:1-13). I’m guessing most of us know the just say no story or some variation of it. Maybe it’s what you were taught or … Continue reading Rethinking Temptation: It’s More Than Just Saying No – A Sermon on Luke 4:1-13
So here’s what I wonder. What if Jesus had said, “Ok. Yes, I’ll do it?” What if he had turned just one small stone into a small loaf of bread? He’s hungry, famished. Why not fill the emptiness? Not a feast or even a big loaf. No butter. Just a little something to get him by. What if he had accepted the glory and authority of all the kingdoms of the world? They are rightfully his anyway. Don’t the ends justify the means? Why not free fall into the arms of the angels? After all he is the beloved son.
What if Jesus had said, “Ok. Yes, I’ll do it?” Would Jesus have been less beloved? Would he have no longer been God’s Son? Would Jesus have been a failure? Those sound like questions of idle curiosity, speculations, but they’re not. Jesus may not have said, “Ok. Yes, I’ll do it,” but I have. Maybe you have as well. Continue reading “Temptation is the Way to Salvation, Luke 4:1-13”
“Habitual self-complacency is almost always a sign of spiritual stagnation. The complacent no longer feel in themselves any real indigence, an urgent need for God. Their meditations are comfortable, reassuring and inconclusive. Their mental prayer quickly degenerates into day-dreaming, distractions or plain undisguised sleep. For this reason trials and temptations can prove to be a real blessing in the life of prayer. It is when … Continue reading Urgent Need Makes A Real Meditation
The collect and readings for the First Sunday in Lent may be found here. The following sermon is based on Mark 1:9-15. At some point we all leave home. It is something we do throughout our lives. Over and over we leave home. We’ve all done it. We leave home physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We leave those places that are familiar, comfortable, predictable. Sometimes we … Continue reading Leave Home, Get Baptized, Go to the Wilderness – A Sermon on Mark 1:9-15, Lent 1B.