Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Great Temptation

Do something!  It is up to you! 

The temptation text is always the first Sunday of Advent and I have preached on it over and over again.  Today as I look at this text I hear this words -" If you are.the son of God...."  followed by an action.

And as I read it I wonder about the temptation that we all have to allow others to define us. Instead of God.  When I was a pastor people would call the church asking for all kinds of help.  Help with rent or food or even one time a woman asked us to pay for their mother's birthday cake.  These were not people with whom we had a relationship at all - they called on the phone or stopped by the church. And always I struggled with how to help them.  What they were saying in essence is:  if you are the church, you should help me.  Sometimes we did help them financially and others times we did not.  Eventually I got to the place where I always offered prayer and an invitation to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ (or enter into one) through participation in the life of the church.  Literally no one took us up on that.

At the same time I continue to struggle my whole life long with who God is calling me to be.  Now as a retiree I have these voices in my head telling me what I should be doing - volunteer work, interim work, political activity etc.  What I keep learning is that I have to wait and listen and (for me) spend time with God's word in order to sort it all out.  The great temptation is to allow my ego and my desire to impress and please others to make the decisions that only God should be guiding.  Not easy.  Any of it.

So my mantra this day is WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD.

Here are three prayers from A Procession of Prayers

Grant, O God,
that in all our time of testing and self-questioning
we may know your presence
and seek your will
through the grace of Christ our Lord.


From the cowardice that dare not face new truth;
from the laziness that is contented with half truth;
from the arrogance that things it knows all truth;
God Lord, deliver me.


Grant, O Lord,
that I may not fail you
   in the moment of truth,
   of temptation,
   of crisis,
   of opportunity.


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