When I hear again the story of your temptation, Jesus – when I read about those 40 days you spent out in the wilderness, there is one question that comes to my mind. Only one question, Jesus. It’s a question I can phrase in lots of different ways – it’s a question I can express from different points of view – but really it’s all the same question.
The story of your temptation raises this question for me, Jesus: Why?
Why did you set out from your home and your community that day? Why did you leave the routine of life and work and responsibilities that morning? It’s in our homes and in our communities that we have our life and our identity. It’s in our work and in the fulfillment of our vocation that we make real contributions to our community. It’s not through disengagement and withdrawal that we make a difference, but through engagement in relationships and community. So why, Jesus? Why did you walk out on everything for more than a month. Why did decide to withdraw and go your own way for those weeks?
I could understand if you just needed a bit of time away to be rejuvenated. Continue reading →
O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
My life has been full – there have been moments of joy and fulfillment. I can think of moments in my life that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I can think of moments when all the shadows seemed to be banished. There was that beautiful moment when the prophet Samuel plucked me out of obscurity, anointing me with oil – marking me as king. Some days I can still feel the oil poured over my head – some days the smell of the oil still fills my nostrils. It was such a dramatic and hopeful moment.
I think back also to my friendship with Jonathan – what a gift he was to me – what a gift his friendship was. He challenged me, he encouraged me, he helped me. We experienced very real happiness together.
I also think back to my early years as king, when the people were united with me – when we successfully defended the land against the Philistines who tried to drive us out. There was joy, glory, victory.
Those moments in my life – when all the shadows seemed to be banished – I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Continue reading →
My sermon from this past Sunday – the first Sunday in Lent.
Do you know who you are?
Perhaps this strikes you as an odd question. Of course I know who I am. I can answer the question by telling my story. I can tell you about my parents, about my history, my education, my work, my strengths and weaknesses. I can tell you a great deal about myself. Of course I know who I am.
Nevertheless, the question is asked this morning. When push comes to shove, do you really know who you are? Deep down, are you sure of what matters to you, about where you’re going, and about the meaning of your life?
Continue reading →