A tweet sermon for Lent 1: "Possession: Intention and Temptation"
Texts Luke 4:1-13 and Deuteronomy 26:1-11.
Makes a lot of sense as a story to begin Lent, the season of repentance and examination.
One of temptation, the other of God's intention.
Xians: Remember: Jesus is a Jew. He knows the Deuteronomy story. The early Xians were mostly Jews. They knew this story. 40 days in the wilderness; 40 years in the wilderness.
Land is depicted as power over others -- "the glory & authority" of all the world's kingdoms
Eternal life is depicted as protection from bodily harm -- you alone will be saved by the angels
Wait a minute. That doesn't sound terribly tempting! Isn't that what all human beings want and need?
What's the problem? What's wrong with food, land, and life?
Indeed, the Deuteronomy passage is also about food, land, and life.
Land is a gift.
There are no strings attached, no quid pro quo. This is a gift.
The 1st thing God desires for them is when they enter the land, the people will harvest the "first fruits," and take the produce to the priests as a offering of gratitude.
This is life in the story -- abundance, making sure all are welcomed and fed.
God gives a gift to Israel -- "to possess" as the text says.
But God's idea of "possession" is subversive.
Land is sacred, a place where wandered find home. There's "power" in that, but it is the power of rest, wholeness.
And there's enough for all. Even enough to bring thank offerings to God -- in gratitude and for sharing with the entire community.
In the temptation, life is a story about Jesus saving his physical life -- or angels saving it. Again, by a miracle. Save yourself! You will live forever! You are the Son of God!
What is life in gifted land, the bounteous land?
Sharing. Making sure that everyone is fed.
God's people "possess" as they receive gifts & give gifts away. That's the sacred economy.
What God asked of God's people as they left the wilderness. Live this way, God said, and you shall dwell in peace.
Food, land, and life -- gift, bounty, and sharing
Food, land, and life -- power, control, and glory?