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2010-2-21, 1st Lent

2010-2-21, 1st Lent

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Published by: cceureka on Apr 08, 2010
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Christ ChurchEureka California
Sunday of LentGenesis 15:1-12, 17-18, Psalm 27, Philippians 3:17-4:1Luke 13:31-35February 2
, 2010The Rev. Ron W. Griffin“It’s all in the Details?”
God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astrayfrom your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embraceand hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with youand the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Luke 13:31-35
ome Pharisees came and said to Jesus, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to killyou." He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons andperforming cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today,tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet tobe killed outside of Jerusalem.' Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets andstones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children togetheras a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house isleft to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessedis the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'"Good Morning!Every four years the world watches as the best compete in the winter games of theOlympics. I love the skiing, the short track and the snowboarding. I love the saga andstories of Bode, Shawn, and Apollo. With the difference between winning and losing oftena fraction of a second, many of these athletes have been honing their skills their entirelives, training full time in an effort to excel. They are aware it is more than muscle, more
than motivation it is combination of skill and strength in harmony with timing, becauseiming is everything.t Charlotte loves the Figure skating, and most folks do, as figure skating consistentlydraws the largest crowds the biggest ratings and prime time slots. One of the commentatorson the figure skaters is gold medal winner Scott Hamilton, and one of his favorite phrasesthis week to explain all the nuance and subtlety and all of the timing that goes into winninga gold medal is “ the devil is in the details” Beneath the flash and motion beyond thefundamentals “the devil is in the details, where timing is everything that make thedifference and decide the difference between wining and losing.
Every year the first Sunday of Lent takes us to the wilderness. Every year it’s adifferent gospel but it is the same story. We don’t know who the eyewitness was, or even if we are to think of this as a literal account, but we sure are supposed to pay attention to theprinciples behind these details. For the devil is in the details, but so are the principles; to beore like Jesus.m Since you've already probably heard a lifetime of sermons on what the devil said toJesus, I thought I'd skip that part today, especially since none of us will likely face theseparticular temptations or testing’s. The questions posed to Jesus really are asking onething, “Just what is it that the Son of God does, what kind of Son of God are you?" theyren’t really about bread, or power, or super natural control over physics.a This is one of the details I want you to remember. When we find ourselves in thewilderness, we won’t be asked the Son of God questions. We're going to get the regular oldAdam and Eve questions, “If you are a child of God, shouldn’t things be going smother foryou? If you are a Christian, shouldn’t you be happier, healthier, richer, and safer? “Don’tyou deserve better?”Luke’s details tell us Jesus has barely had time to dry off after his baptism. He andothers have heard God say some pretty powerful words, “You are my son, the Beloved,with you I am well pleased.” It was a climatic moment of profound affirmation andheightened consciousness for Jesus; a moment of spiritual and mental strength. He hasn'tyet been confronted by the Pharisees, questioned by the Sadducees, thought to be crazy byhis own family, chased out of his home-town synagogue.His public ministry is just beginning, the hope and dreams of a future, walking withGod, is opening up. At this moment Jesus is feeling secure in his future, in his identity, inhis strength. Then Jesus leaves the buzz of the Jordan and he goes to the wilderness.I think sometimes we get so focused on scripture being this vast collection of wisdom sayings that we sometimes forget, it is also a powerful drama, the story of eternalimpact.
How did Jesus end up there? The Spirit led him.
What was he full of? He was full of The Holy Spirit.
What else did he live on while he was there? Nothing.
How long was he there? Weeks and weeks.
How did he feel at the end? He was famished.
One of the details Luke tells us was that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, led by theSpirit to the wilderness and that after a time there he was tempted by the devil. Thesedetails don’t normally get linked together naturally for a lot of us, I think. For a lot of us,when we're in a desolate place a wilderness, we’re not thinking how filled we are with theSpirit of the Holy, or that we were led there by that same spirit. I think we are more likelyto ask what went wrong, where did I choose the wrong direction, I didn’t know I wasdriving my ducks to a bad market. How could I have missed the Holy Spirit and be in aplace like this, we think?Your wilderness may be, the day you heard bad news, or the day you lost yourplace to live, or your job, or your meaning in life. Maybe your wilderness is when youcalled out for God and all you heard was quiet, or at the most just the rattle and hum of your own thoughts. Your wilderness may not look like mine, or sound like mine but yousure know it when you are there. Luke wants us to know the wilderness is a real place, justnot one place.Another detail is Jesus didn’t right off the bat go from baptism to temptation. Jesusmay not have thought of himself as a super hero after his baptism, but there were quite afew around him who had that thought. “Maybe Jesus will cease being human so he canrescue us human beings. Only that didn’t happen. What happened was he went from aspectacular moment to a long lonely time. He went from wow to what now.And then for a time, he is wandering in the wilderness, but he is also gettinghungry, he is alone, he is getting wobbly. He is getting tired and at some point after a longtime he may have been getting tired of it.The King James Version translates the devil as the tempter, Job’s allegory refers tohe devil as the accuser so by detail might be used for the devil timing is everything.t For when it comes to the timing, of biding time, waiting for when we are mostvulnerable, waiting for where we are most vulnerable, calculating HOW we are mostvulnerable, the tempter, the accuser knows when it’s time. Where are you most vulnerable?Often it is at your weakest. When are you most vulnerable? Often it is at your strongest.And how are you most vulnerable? At your strongest weakness.With perfect timing the accuser assaults our spirits and psyche not only at themoment of our greatest weakness, but as well at the moment of our greatest strength, ourgreatest success, our times of triumph. The devil is in the details, at both moments -- oursublime highs and our soul-sapping lows -- lurking and lunging, biding time and findingertile ground for temptations, tests, and enticements. One of the details in Luke and Matthew’s version is that the devil is biblicallyliterate. Knowing exactly where to find the Bible verses needed to put Jesus to the test, butJesus knows more than what the Bible says. Jesus knows how to do what the Bible says.I know I wonder, where in the world God is sometimes when I feel so stranded. And whywon’t God give me enough strength to just banish the devil from my life and never comeback. Our greatest connection to God isn’t when we rise above it, but when we sink deepinto it, and then recognize the difference between God and the counterfeit voice of thetempter and accuser, the devil.

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