QUESTIONS FOR LENT

Sometimes The Road Through Lent

Again, I’m playing catch up here with a couple of these I’m doing back to back…
Matthew 4:1-11
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

For this first Sunday of Lent
I am asking, by what are we tempted?
But the question is also,
by whom are we tempted?
We all know that there are things—
candy,
good wine,
a second serving,
not doing something boring we need
to do to do
something really fun,
giving in to our anger—
that are temptations.
But there are people as well.
Promulgators of comfortable
yet wrong-headed ideas.
Tempters and thieves
of our souls.
We have read the Gospel.
We have listened to moral arguments.
We all have known
since Sunday School, or kindergarten,
the differences between right and wrong
and most of the time we get it all really right.
And yet,
we each of us,
as we walk through this Lenten season
have a golden opportunity to
pray through those things and
people who tempt us
and allow God to change us.
What choices
are we faced with?
What paths
are we avoiding that we should take?
What do we do
when we are faced with injustice?
What jokes
do we laugh at?
Who suffers
when we make choices
based purely on our own comfort?
What decisions
can we make that bring us the most peace?
Who are our friends,
and do they help us make right choices,
or do they enable our bad choices?
Lent gives us
an opportunity to
ask of God and
of ourselves,
Am I satisfied
with the kind of person that am I,
and if not,
what kind of person
could I become?”

A COMPARISON

Exodus 24:12-17 & Matthew 17:1-3
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

A Comparison

—Playing catch up with a couple of these and posting two today—

Jesus in the Gospel reading
is presented as a new Moses.
This is not a new thought.
None of what I write is actually new,
more like a rephrasing building upon
centuries of theological conversation.
I do have a point, however.
What Jesus is
doing and saying is
new for his own time,
and while we may have heard it
It was brand new to his hearers,
and the presentations by the writers
of the Christian Scriptures,
while built upon
Table conversations
and hillside recollections
of what was remembered of what
Jesus said,
were, by and large, new to the
communities
in which they were proclaimed.
New connections
were being made between
the ancient Hebrew story
and the brand new Christian story.
So, it isn’t just that Jesus is the new Moses,
but what Jesus said and did,
and what happened to him
became fodder for a whole new religion—
the Path,
the Way
that eventually became,
Christianity.
This is important because we must understand that
in the comparison between Jesus and Moses,
the authority of the message
being presented
by and for and of
Jesus
is intended by those early writers
to supplant the message of Moses.
So in the words
Jesus speaks
and the writers present,
Law becomes Grace,
death becomes life,
anathema and abomination become love and hope.
This was a new idea to
most of the world at that time
(the eye-for-an-eye and
a-life-for-a-life-folks),
and it seems that it still is.
Even in our own time
our Christian culture seems more
enthralled by the Ten Commandments and Holiness Codes
and use them as ways to think
about our actions before God
and how we treat others
than we are about
the gift of forgiveness and hope and love
Jesus taught and invited us to share
with our enemies and with the world.
The Stories we read,
the words we are given
that are attributed to Jesus
are about love,
equity,
hope,
caring for others,
and welcoming all
into the fold.
It is not about
tribal/national-ism.
ALL ARE WELCOME!