Signpost for Sunday 14th February 2016, First Sunday in Lent: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13.
What are we to make of the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness? It is not helpful to me in clarifying the nature of the fully human/fully divine Jesus. That remains firmly ‘A Mystery’.
Tradition tells us that because he was tempted, Jesus must have been fully human: or maybe that because he was fully human he was tempted. This Gospel passage indicates that he became fully aware of his divine nature at his baptism – the Holy Spirit descends upon him in bodily form like a dove, and he literally hears God’s affirmation that he is the Son, the Beloved. Whereupon he departs into the wilderness to work out by prayer and fasting where he goes from here.
Jesus received the acme of all calls. Paul’s call was on a lesser level – and he too went away to think about it. We all know, or have read about, people called to ordination, to the monastic life, to the mission fields, but those calls have to be tested. For Jesus it was between himself and God. For the rest of us, even Paul, the Church has a part to play.
For a lot of us this time of the calendar year means Annual General Meetings – new Vestries, new Councils, new Synod reps, new responsibilities. These calls are often far from mountain-top experiences, but calls they are, and as such must be entered into prayerfully and with a serious attempt to understand God’s will rather than our own worldly enthusiasm.
At Christ Church we have two new Priests-in-charge – young, charismatic men – and there is a tangible sense of excitement around the place. It behoves us accordingly to use this Lenten season to attempt seriously under the new leadership to turn away from our petty sins (as enumerated only too cringeworthily in our Ash Wednesday litany this morning) and discover God’s purpose for his Church in this place.
Fascinated as usual by the content of the lectionary, I can’t find a connection between the O.T. and N.T. readings and the Gospel. Perhaps there isn’t any – there doesn’t have to be. But there in the Psalm lies the origin of one of not Jesus’ but the devil’s scripture quotations.
P.S. Hey friends – it’s St Valentine’s Day – roses anybody?