Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Sermon 2/17/13

(N.B.: The Old Testament reading today is one of those rare example where the more modern translation outshines the King James version: "My father was a wandering Aramean...")

This week's gospel is the Temptation in the Desert, one of those writings of biblical conflict that the evangelists seemed to delight in presenting, fearlessly--almost defiantly. Christ goes to the desert for forty days "and was tempted by the devil," who  "led him to a high mountain," quotes scripture and, finally rejected, "departed from him for a time." Christ is offered relief of human needs, possessions and authority if he will surrender his integrity. Is this real? Is this literal? Is this a debate Christ is having in His mind. Christ always responds with scripture, but the devil quotes scripture as well.

Can Christ be tempted? Led? Does the devil come back? If so, why?

There is a disturbing quality in passages like these of a struggle, an internal dispute that is within Christ, as if the human and spiritual were unsettled within Him. Like us.

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