Lord of Light, shine upon these words the very truth of your being, that we may read and be brought into deeper relationship with you. Amen.
Deuteronomy 26:1-11. Instructions to bring the first produce from each crop as a thanksgiving offering to God, and a recognition of God’s care, provision and liberation of God’s people in the past and the present.
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16. A psalm celebrating God’s care and protection of those who dwell in God, and make God’s presence their safe refuge.
Romans 10:4-13. The message of faith in Christ that ensures that we will never be disgraced, because all who call on God’s name are saved.
Luke 4:1-15. Jesus is tempted by the devil in the wilderness. He is challenged to turn stones into food, to jump from the top of the temple, and to gain all the world’s wealth and glory by bowing to the tempter. But, he resists, using God’s word as his guide.
The Reverend Tania writes,
As we move into Lent, it is tempting to make services solemn and dark, to preach hellfire and brimstone and to focus on all the evil in the world that we must oppose. This is certainly necessary, and the first week in Lent gives much to support this approach.
However, there is also a lot to inspire celebration and joy. This first week in Lent offers us an invitation to a life of abundance – found in the practice of spiritual disciplines and in the freedom of taking responsibility for our own light and darkness. And it assures us of God’s care and protection throughout.
What is interesting about the readings for this week is that the focus, rather than being on Jesus’ temptation, is on God’s care, protection and provision for God’s people. When the temptation narrative is placed in that context, our focus shifts dramatically – and importantly – away from fear of failure or succumbing to evil, and on to God’s resources that are at our disposal to keep us strong and faithful.
Perhaps the great temptation of this week in the readings is to make it all about evil and it’s attack on us and our world. The readings, however, rightly calls us to make this week about God – God’s care, God’s Word, God’s protection, God’s provision – which means that we can rest assured that whatever we may face, “the best of all is ‘God is with us’”.
Prayerfully, Rev Tania