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Showing posts from March 1, 2020

So Familiar and Yet.

Here are some thoughts I have on this Sunday's gospel. What do you think? This was sent to the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church.  Gospel: John 3:1-17 1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do no…

Jesus is Set Up

This is the sermon I preached Sunday, 3/1/20 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The gospel was Matthew 4:1-11. 
Do you remember the comedy of Flip Wilson? One of his frequent characters was Geraldine Jones. Her excuse for anything she shouldn’t have done was, “The devil made me do it.” The things the devil “made” Geraldine do were not inherently evil like buying a new dress. In today’s gospel, in Jesus’ encounter with Satan, the devil tempts him to do three different things, none of which are innately evil in and of themselves.

As I said in my e-ministry reflection, this was a setup. Right on the heels of Jesus’ baptism, with the reassuring voice of his Father calling him the beloved Son. Then pow, God’s Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. Why would the Spirit do this?
There are three temptations: the temptation to attempt the miraculous, the temptation to spectacle and the temptation to political power. The three temptations stand for pride, power and possession (Eric Fi…