Monday, February 24, 2020

Looking Ahead to March 1, 2020 -- 1st Sunday in Lent

As this is the 1st Sunday of the month we will be celebrating the Sacrament of Communion and we will be collecting our 2nd Offering for the  Local Outreach Fund.

Also our Annual Congregational Meeting will be taking place following the service.  Lunch and Childcare are being provided.

The Scripture Readings for this 1st Sunday of Lent are:
  • Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
  • Matthew 4:1-11
The Sermon title is Who Do We Want to Be?

Early Thoughts: Each year we begin Lent with the story of Jesus being led (or driven depending on the Gospel) into the wilderness for a time of testing. This year we pair it with the Genesis account of Eve being tested by the serpent. Repeatedly the Tempter says to Jesus "If you are the Son of God...". Part of the serpent's argument to Eve is "when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God". How many temptations in our lives tie in to questions of identity, questions of who we think we are and/or who we think we want (or perhaps ought) to be?

Jesus has just been baptized by John. Many people, then and now, see baptism as a significant life event. Matthew tells us that when Jesus was baptized he had a vision of the heavens being opened and God's Spirit alighting on him. How does one respond to a significant event like that?

Sometimes life-changing events [Jesus' public ministry begins after his baptism by John] prompt us to do some examination of our lives. We are pushed to ask if we are on the right path, or to ask which path we might follow from this point forward. At a deeper level we may start to wonder who we really are. This, I believe, is part of what lies under the story of Jesus in the wilderness.

So who do we [as individuals, as a community of faith, as a city, as a nation...] want to be? Who do we think God is calling us to be? What are we tempted to think we could be?

Traditionally the season of Lent is a time for self-reflection. Identity is a good thing to reflect on. We need to look at who we are currently and who we could be. We need to look at where we think we are living into our identity as beloved children of God -- and where we think we might be falling short.

In our myth of how the world came to be less than God created it to be, Adam and Eve were tempted to be like God. In the Wilderness the Tempter offers Jesus a variety of paths, but Jesus chooses to remain true to his understanding of who God calls him to be. What tempts us from the path of wisdom? How do we resist?

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