Journeying into Lent..The Trybal Pastor’s words

As we journey throughout Lent,
I thought I’d share
how the Holy Spirit manifests
and moves through me
in my sermons

There is evil in this world,

And when we have been awashed in the Light

Of God,

Filled with the purpose that the Creator has for us,

Suddenly,

That is when the devil comes knocking

Challenging our birthright

And tempting us

To fill those places empty in our lives

With empty things.

(pause)

Confessional time,

The temptation of wanting to be

Sought after

To have status

Influence

Over public policy and society

Seemingly outweighs

Any human decency on how we treat one another

Any human sanity of not wanting to drive one another,

Into an empty darkness

Any ethics

Or even,

Our baptismal promises,

Which were poured over us,

As we came into this world.

(pause)

The temptation of financial gain,

Economic might

To have everything

To gleefully display one’s wealth

Lording it over others

To have the ability

To control the markets

And the masses

Without seeing the reflection

Of the One we claim to follow,

Jesus Christ, in their faces

Has unfortunately clouded our spirits

And become

The new gospel for a people

In this Nation.

It’s not just a harmless tale,

Such as in the story of Pollyanna

Of the one businesswoman in town

Who bullies the local minister

To preach the sermons she wants

And that she thinks all should hear

For the good of their soul,

As if she knows what’s best,

Simply because of her financial weight,

(pause)

It has become the new narrative,

The ideology that

Self-indulgence, is good

That somehow the gospel of Jesus Christ,

Is centered in prosperity

That if we believe in God,

God will deliver to us,

Financial empowerment

That if we believe in God,

We will never be fraught with illness or poverty

And those who are immersed in poverty,

Who are struggling,

Obviously have no faith,

Or are cursed, punished by God.

Is this going to be the new American normal?

(pause)

The temptation to twist the Word of God,

So, that we force others into submission

And assimilation

Has unfortunately turned Christianity

To mirror

The broken Empire of this world,

Until the two are indistinguishable

This right here, makes me ill

(pause)

Now,

This relationship between the monetary

And who we are,

As children of the Most High

As followers of Jesus Christ

Has always been complicated

During Bible Study this week,

As we were examining the 95 Theses,

And the subject of indulgences

Rich Roos asked the important question,

About whether God wanted us to be financially successful?

I believe,

As a child of God

That the Creator wants God’s children

To be sustainable

To be happy

To be free.

What God weeps about,

Is when we submit to the temptations

Of replacing the tangible

Human made wealth

Prestige

For God’s Grace and Mercy,

That Christ is warning us

And teaching us

In our Gospel this morning.

We,

As children of God

Blinded by the desires of wanting

Rather than striving for our basic needs,

Fueled sometimes

A spirit of ambition and overconfidence in ourselves

Spurred on by the influences in this world,

Manifests a character

Stemming not from positive motivation

Or even from the promises

We remember in our Baptism

But from self interest

And

Arrogance.

The temptation,

Of relying solely on ourselves

Rather than submitting to the will

Of the One,

Who loves us regardless

More often than not

Fails

And Fails to benefit

The beloved community.

(pause)

People of faith,

Forget

How powerful

And

Important

Baptism is

For all of us.

It’s much more than a rite of passage

Or welcoming a new sister or brother into the beloved community of God

Or even that we are officially marked as a child of God,

Because

We already are of God’s

We come from God

Mixed with stardust and with earth,

The sacred breath of God fueling our very being,

As we are washed

Clean

And

Whole.

(pause)

I say all of this because Jesus,

In our Gospel this morning

Has just experienced His baptism

And now,

Led into the wilderness

Not as a punishment

But,

To experience the temptations,

That we as humanity would face,

Along our life’s journey

What temptations

Are we then,

Willing to give up

In order to continue our life’s journey

With Jesus Christ?

(pause)

Would we,

As sisters and brothers in Christ

Publicly confess

To any temptation?

What weigh then,

Are the words

When we say

In our litany of confession and forgiveness

Are these the moments,

When we come to God’s Feet

Our Holy Parent

And pour out of our hearts

The temptations

We have succumb to

Just to get by?

(pause)

It’s rather strange,

That the fallen angel,

Satan

Addresses Jesus as

“If,

If you are the Son of God.”

What is Satan questioning?

The legitimacy of Jesus’s birth?

Or

The nature of that position,

To be the Son of God.

As if to say,

Prove then,

That God will not abandon you

Or forget you,

When life becomes tumultuous”

Prove to me,

That it is worthy

To submit

And follow the Creator God,

When YOU, Jesus

Have all the power and glory.

Jesus,

You do not have to die

“He will command his angels concerning you,’

and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,”

(pause)

And yet,

Jesus Christ

REMEMBERED

His Baptism

REMEMBERED

Those words

“This is my Son;

I am well pleased”

And tells Satan,

“No.”

Jesus refuses to turn the stones in the desert

To bread,

But soon,

Jesus,

Leaning on that relationship with His Father,

With our God

Will feed many in the wilderness

Will teach the disciples

To be in relationship with the Creator

For a WORD which will feed their souls.

Jesus,

Refuses to align Himself with the temptations

Of earthly power

Thereby establishing God’s Kingdom,

Where those who are seeking,

Whether they are in power,

Or fighting to survive

Follow Jesus.

Jesus,

Refuses to use His relationship with His Father,

Our God

As a showpiece by throwing Himself down the mountain

In the wilderness

But Jesus,

Would Give of Himself,

Submitting to the ugliness

And the violence

That a broken world and

A blind humanity

Heaped on Him

Through death,

On the Cross

And because of this,

Transforms the Cross

From death to life.

What Good News!

The Good News of Jesus Christ,

Is that Jesus,

Regardless of what happened

Or what He faced

He knew,

That God would indeed

Never forsake Him

Just as we know

God,

Who loves us

Who speaks to us every time we remember our baptism

“This, this is my child; I am well pleased”

Never abandons us.

The Creator God only wants a relationship,

Our prayers

Our singing

And for us,

In remembering our Baptism

In remembering this Meal

To love one another

To actively live out our faith

To LIVE

And when life indeed is broken,

The Good News is

God, is there

Christ is there

The Holy Spirit is there.

Thanks Be to God.

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