SIGNPOST – 9 MARCH 2014 (First Sunday in Lent): Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7; Psalm 32: Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11
This writing business isn’t easy is it? How do Priests turn out a sermon, sometimes more than one, every week? How does Paul, how did Brye, turn out a Signpost every week. I’ve been pondering the Temptations in the Wilderness on and off for a month now, hoping, even daring to pray, for divine inspiration, but like the rest of life it seems it’s mostly discipline.
Fully Human? That is my question. The temptations are one of the strong indications that Jesus was indeed fully human. Straightway after experiencing a mind-blowing spiritual experience at his baptism, he withdraws from the world to pray. Yes, think I, he has received his calling and is now working out the best way to fulfil it, just as any of us would, even to the point of considering (and of course discarding) a quick fix for his natural hunger, a dramatic show of power to prove he is indeed the Son of God, and even what he might get out of it for himself. Satan taking him to the pinnacle of the temple, and to a very high mountain, are just ways of expressing his inner torment. It is not likely that he whizzed through the air like an early Superman.
But perhaps I have been listening (literally – some of us at Christ Church are studying a DVD series called “Living the Questions”) to too many Progressive Christians: Matthew Henry’s early 18th century commentary brings me back to tradition by telling me that “others are tempted when they are drawn aside of their own lust and enticed (James 1:14) (that’s the KJV of course, NRSV makes it a bit clearer – “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire’), but our Lord Jesus had no corrupt nature and therefore he was led, as a champion into the field, to be tempted purely by the Devil.” Oh dear! Fully Divine? At the same time? This becomes too hard. I shall, as I have done so often, fall back on Rainer Maria Rilke’s…
Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves ….
Don’t search for the answers,
which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps then some day far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer.
… which is obviously the source of the title to our DVD series.