Pastor Joe and Pastor Geoff talk about Holy Week, the importance of it and they share ideas of things happening in their churches during this special time of the year.
Matthew and Luke share more details about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness than Mark does (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). In those Gospel stories, Satan openly exposes Jesus’ food insecurity, how dangerous the world could be to his personal safety, and how a compromise of his true authority could lead to a quick rise to power. In both Matthew and Luke, Jesus is defiant – directly resisting Satan’s ploys to undermine his mission.
Mark’s Gospel is always on the move; racing at breakneck speed; telling us that Jesus was tempted for forty days in one short sentence. As a reader I am left wondering if that temptation was an ongoing threat as Jesus begins calling people to “repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15).
The Gospel of John doesn’t mention a temptation in the wilderness at all – yet the struggle between the darkness and the light is ever-present.
Sometimes the things that draw us away from who we are called to be and what we should be doing are blatant and require direct action and resistance. Other times the attack is ongoing and hostile; it is only through perseverance and a clarity of mission that see us out of the wilderness. Yet most of the time the struggle is subtle, in the background of our lives, present but real behind the scenes of our day to day routines and experience. These can be the most dangerous kinds of temptations where one can slip into new or bad habits that keep people (myself included) from being the version of our selves we long to be.
Lent is a good time to refocus. For some, it is a time to intentionally weed out bad habits or distractions. For others it is an opportunity to pause and reflect or take up a new practice. Whatever you decide to do across these 40 days in the wilderness, remember that Jesus is right there with you and you are not alone. We all walk together toward the cross.
Let’s encourage each other along the way.
Do you give up something or take up something for Lent? If so, what are you doing this year?
Joe and Geoff are starting a new series called “Why Lent?” In this episode they give an overview of the series and they talk about preaching themes for Ash Wednesday.
Links mentioned in the episode
Article by David Lose that inspired this series – https://www.workingpreacher.org/craft.aspx?post=1465
Sunday is Coming – https://www.workingpreacher.org/craft.aspx?post=1465
At the New England Synod Bishop’s Convocation we had an opportunity to talk with Bishop Yvette Flunder. She is an inspiring amazing woman who talked with the rostered leaders of the synod about how we can continue to be the church in the 21st century and beyond.
Bishop Yvette Flunder is a native San Franciscan and third generation preacher with roots in the Church of God in Christ. Bishop Flunder is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and holds both masters and doctorate degrees in Ministry from the Pacific School of Religion and the San Francisco Theological Seminary, respectively. In 2003, she was appointed Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multi-denominational coalition of over 56 churches and faith-based organizations from all over the world.
Bishop Flunder is a trustee and adjunct professor at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. She is an active voice for the Religion Council of the Human Rights Campaign, as well as for the National Black Justice Coalition. Bishop Flunder is a highly sought after preacher and religious educator as evidenced by her having spoken at divinity schools nationwide including those at Duke, Yale , Drew, and the New York Theological Seminary. She is the author of Where the Edge Gathers: A Theology of Homiletic Radical Inclusion, published by Pilgrim Press. In addition to her memorable sermons, Bishop Flunder is also known for her beautiful singing voice, made famous through her gospel recordings with Walter Hawkins and the Family, the City of Refuge Choir and Chanticleer.
You can find out more information about Bishop Flunder you can find more about her here.