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Rise Above It!

You shall not put the Lord your God to the test
Deuteronomy 26:4-10; Psalms 91:1-2,10-15; Romans 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13

Sermon Week First Sunday of Lent Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 4:12

While attending a major concert or stage performance, most of us take for granted the challenging and dangerous “behind the scenes” work performed by the stage “riggers.” These are the men and women who walk the four-inch rafter beams—often a hundred feet above a concrete floor—to hang sound-speakers and spotlights. For such work, understandably, they are well paid. However, unlike most of us, these technicians aren’t bothered by the sight of looking down one hundred feet. What they don’t like are jobs in buildings that have false ceilings—acoustical tiles slung just a few feet below the rafters. Only a short distance above the tiles, the workers are still high up in the air, and if they slip, their weight will smash right through the flimsy ceiling. From this vantage point, their minds seem to play tricks on them, lulling them into carelessness.

Never underestimate the power of temptation and the depth of its consequences—lulling you into carelessness. And never overestimate your ability to resist it. Unless you say “No!” early in the game, you may be in for a great big fall!

Lent, as today's Gospel Lesson suggests, is a time to think about temptation. It is a time for the Community of Christ to test its fidelity to God. In Biblical language, the word "temptation" signifies something much more profound than ordinary allurement to sinful acts of the flesh. We would agree that such a temptation can hardly be called "seasonal." Lenten temptation cuts deeper. It calls us to deep decision-making. It calls for a commitment to a whole process of growth and development. It challenges us to rise above the ashes of our own destruction. It means inner conflict of the kind experienced by Jesus Himself in His forty days of trial.

In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus moves from the banks of the Jordan River (scene of His baptism) into the dry, barren, lonely wilderness. He had heard His Father's voice from the heavens: "You are My Son, the beloved; My favor rests on You" (Luke 3:22), and in these words, His ordination was complete. Now His [...]

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