154: Lent 1C (Feb. 14, 2016)


image: The Temptation of Christ, by Sandro Boticelli Wikimedia Commons

Episode 154 First Sunday of Lent, Year C - (February 14, 2016)
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 154, for Sunday February 14, the first Sunday of Lent, Year C.

Introduction and Check-in  

Voice in the Wilderness: Casey Fitzgerald. faithandwonder.com and storydivine.com

Featured Musician - Koine “Oh, That the Lord Would Guide My Ways” from their album, Church Bells.

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Gospel Reading:  Luke 4:1-13 Jesus tempted
Initial Thoughts

  • Lent Begins

Bible Study

  • Wilderness – a time of trial – matches the time of trials – Flood, Israelites in Wilderness, etc.

    • Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit- but not necessarily left there- Is the Spirit with Jesus in the midst of temptation?
    • Similar to Moses and Elijah
  • Ancient contest of wit and knowledge (Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Hillel, etc)

    • If you are the Son of God then….
    • Jesus proved he is the son of God by responding faithfully as oppose to acquiescing to the devil
    • Devil

      • the opposition, the tempter, the “other”, the adversary or accuser
  • Food

    • mimics Israel in the wilderness - demand for Manna, Water, etc

      • Israel is unfaithful- Jesus is faithful
    • Jesus responds - Deuteronomy 8:3
    • Temptation for material items
    • “Give us this day our daily bread” - a gift from God given, not something demanded
  • Power

    • mimics Israel’s desire for a King
    • Deuteronomy 6:13
    • total power corrupts totally
    • Won’t the world be better off with Jesus as the leader? Temptation of ends justifying the means
  • Survival

    • Foreshadows Jesus’ death Psalm 91:11-12- the Devil’s quote

      • knowing scripture and being faithful are 2 different things
    • Jesus responds with Deuteronomy 6:16
    • the devil waits for the opportune time: Luke 22:42 The Garden of Gethsemane (or perhaps into Judas Luke 22:3)

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • Do we face temptation alone or, perhaps like Jesus even when we are led into the wilderness by the Spirit and face temptation- the Spirit remains with us to guide us.
  • Wouldn’t the world be better off if Jesus was in charge of all the Kingdom of the Earth? Isn’t that the Kingdom of God? If so, then doesn’t the end justify the means? NO- NO - NO

    • The ends do not justify the means, and that reasoning leads us down a dangerous path
  • Jesus makes food to feed the hungry, he does great deeds of power and risks everything even unto death, but when he does these things it is always for the glory of God or neighbor - not for his own glory. When we as individuals or churches do great things - are we doing them for our glory or for God’s glory?
  • Survival seems to be the greatest temptation the church faces today? What are we willing to do or not do in order to survive? Are those action faithful?

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16 with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist)

The Pulpit Fiction Podcast is brought to you in part by audible. For listeners of Pulpit Fiction, Audible is offering a free 30-day trial and get a free audio book simply by going to audibletrial.com/pulpitfiction. There are a ton of books, 180,000 titles to choose from, including some great works by friends of the show Diana Butler Bass, Adam Hamilton and Nadia Bolz-Weber. We recommend Rachel Held Evans’ new book Searching for Sundays which is available on audible right now. I personally just used one of my credits to download Erik Larson’s newest book, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. Erik Larson is the master of narrative fiction, I loved his books The Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts. I haven’t started Lusitania yet, but I’m going to be driving to Saint Louis soon, and I can’t wait to get into it. Get it for free at audibleTRIAL.com/PulpitFiction. Again, support the show by going to audibletrial.com/PulpitFiction to start your free 30-Day trial and get a free audio book download.

Second Reading:  Deuteronomy 26:1-11 Ceremony Upon Entering the Land
Initial Thoughts

  • Stewardship in Lent - why not?

    • Lent is a time to examine priorities. Shouldn’t money be one of those priorities?
    • Not so much about giving something up as it is taking count of what really matters, and setting first things first.

Bible Study

  • Ceremony upon entering the Land.

    • “What is described is, perhaps, to be understood as the first ceremony of harvest on entering the land. No doubt it provided a pattern for future celebrations, for the first part of the harvest was offered to God every year (see Leviticus 23:9-22)” (Common English Study Bible, notes to 26:1-11, p. 305 OT)
    • Interesting placement in lectionary, considering: “the focus here seems to be on the Festival of Weeks in the spring, also known in the New Testament as Pentecost” (John Newsome, Texts for Preaching, Year C, p. 191).
    • Power of ceremony

      • “Deuteronomy knows that when a people forgets its past, it loses both its present and its future.” (John Newsome, p. 190).
      • In order to move into the future, the people are commanded to take another look at the past.
  • Confession

    • My father was a starving Aramean (or wandering).

      • Reference to Jacob (Israel), who was starving before going to Egypt. Once there, his house rose to prominence as an immigrant people.
      • Egyptians then treated them harshly, making them slaves.
    • God showed mercy

      • Delivered from Egypt
      • Brought us to this place - full of milk and honey.
    • Therefore, I am bringing the first fruits of the ground to God.

      • “In the Lord’s provision of a place to live in freedom under the rule of God and with opportunity to enjoy the rich blessings of the land, Israel found its salvation gift from God. No theme so permeates the book as does the word of God’s gift of land and place and provision for life. It is the presupposition of all the instruction” (Patrick Miller, Interpretation: Deuteronomy, p. 179)
    • Johnny Appleseed prayer

The lord is good to me
And so I thank the lord
For giving me the things I need
The sun and rain and an apple seed
Yes, he's been good to me

I owe the lord so much
For everything I see
I'm certain if it weren't for him
There'd be no apples on this limb
He's been good to me
(Disney short film from 1948, directed by Wilfred Jackson).

  • Justice

    • Includes the Levites - a people with no land; and the immigrants among you.
    • Offering is a chance for distribution of wealth. The offering comes from God’s bounty, and is distributed to those who have nothing.
    • The offering of first fruits, whether at the temple in Jerusalem as in this passage or locally in the outlying towns every third year as a tithe (26:12-15; cf., 14:28-29), ensures that the entire community shares in the land’s abundance.” (Esther Menn, Working Preacher)

Sermon Thoughts and Questions

  • Offering and Confession  Offering itself is an act of confession. It is an act of affirming that all that belongs to us is rooted in God’s creation. The confession about more than seeking forgiveness of sin. It is a confession that God has been in all things. We confess that we have wandered, and that the wandering is, at least in part, due to our own misguided attempts at control. We confess our role in the wandering even as we give thanks for the current place of plenty. Giving thanks, and offering the first fruit of our labor is an acknowledgment that we do not labor alone.
  • Offering and the Past. Looking to the past is not an effort to cling to the glory days. The past here consists of an honest look at where the people came from. It acknowledges their place as wanderers and slaves, juxtaposed with the present situation of being fixed in a land of plenty. Looking to the past is an act of hope for the future. How many churches today are weighed down by the stories of the past? Like the people who have now finished wandering, the Church does not look like it did forty years ago. This is a good thing. Taking an honest look at the trials we have overcome gives us strength to face the future trials with God’s grace.
  • Offering and Justice.

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

  • Thursday Night Special with Leah Gunning Francis, author of Ferguson and Faith. Another way to support the show is to order on amazon through our portal on the website. Click on STORE at PulpitFiction.us/store.

    • Winner of Ferguson and Faith: Karla Seyb-Stockton!

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Featured Musician - Koine “Oh, That the Lord Would Guide My Ways” from their album, Church Bells.

Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist). Thank you to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Misirlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Summertime”) and The Steel Wheels for our transition music(“Nola’s First Dance” from their album Lay Down, Lay Low) and Paul and Storm for our closing music (“Oh No”)