We met in the park on a mild early spring morning. Our worship focused on Lent with help from Richard Rohr and Dale Ryan.
Call to worship
early in the morning when the world was young,
you made life in all its beauty
you gave birth to all we know.
This morning, in the multi-coloured company
of your church on earth and in heaven,
we celebrate your creation,
your interest in us.
We are your people, the creatures of your care,
the bearers of your image.
This day we will walk in your light,
live by your spirit and follow Jesus.
Richard Rohr – thoughts on the temptations of Jesus.
The first temptation of Jesus was to turn stones into bread. Sounds good, but this is our need to be immediately impressive and successful, and make things happen right now. It is our natural desire to look good…. You can be a very popular and successful when you operate at this level, and you will think very well of yourself. That is why Jesus has to face this temptation first, to move us beyond what we first want, to what we really need. In refusing to be immediately successful and impressive; in refusing to respond to people’s immediate requests, Jesus is saying, Go deeper. What do you really desire? What do you really need? It is not usually what you first think.
The second temptation of Jesus is another one that all of us must face. Jesus imagines himself up on the pinnacle of the Temple, symbolising the very top of the religious world itself, and he is tempted to play “righteousness games” with God. “Throw yourself off and he’ll catch you”. Holy words can be used for evil purposes. This second temptation is to think of yourself as saved, superior to others, the moral elite on the side of God and religion, and to quote Scriptures for your own purpose—being against God in the name of God. Actually it’s quite common.
The third human temptation is the need for control, importance, wealth, status, and power. The devil tells Jesus to bow down before the power systems of this world: “All of these I will give to you”. All you have to do is to make these things into your belief and security system. Formal atheism is rare, but this kind of practical daily atheism is almost the norm for most people. Jesus refuses to bow down before the power systems of the world….. He knows that the price of such love of power is to “fall at Satan’s feet and worship him!” Jesus says, “You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone”. When you can recognise and face up to these kinds of well-disguised demons, temptation doesn’t have a chance.
In the blazing light of your love
our failings are illuminated
our failure to love
our failure to always be kind
our failure to be generous
our failure to serve others
our failure to truly follow Jesus.
Please forgive us and renew us.
Enfold us in your arms
that we might know
your forgiveness and healing love.
let’s say to one another –
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
Preparing for more (in Lent). Dale Ryan.
“Lent gets messed up when we experience it as an exercise in deprivation, like we should give up something for Lent as if in God’s family scarcity is of value. A lot of us have already lived lives of scarcity where there’s not enough, you can’t get enough love, enough whatever, life for many is already about not enough, and here the Christian community says lets practice more of not enough, and that’s profoundly counter productive.
I learned a lot about Lent from my wife, who one year for Lent decided to give up shame. Her notion was why not give up something that’s really killing her. Something that’s really a burden that you don’t need. Give up shame for Lent. But that’s not the point. The point is to have a glimpse of what life might be like if you were a shame free person. First time through you might only get a glimpse, and maybe you only begin to see with more clarity about the amount of shame you are carrying. But that would be a gift, that would be having something you didn’t have before. And if there is a dynamic for living with less shame, that would be a lot to show. ………………………………………… Lenten practices should leave us in a spot where we’ve got more than we started with, not less. So don’t give up something that you really love, give up something that’s dragging your life down. Something that’s making your life have less resurrection – cause that’s what Lent is preparing us for – a life where there’s more, not less. ………………………………………………….”
Our fasting and feasting is a great way to start thinking about, for example, giving up shame for Lent while taking up positive things like attempting to be more generous, more kind and more patient.
Spend a few moments in prayer and ask yourself if you could fast from destructive feelings like; anger, resentment , bitterness, unforgiveness, guilt, shame, envy and regret.
sharing bread and wine………………….
Jesus, we offer ourselves,
To be your hands reaching out to the world,
With your compassion.
Fill us with the breath of life
To be instruments of your peace.
Where there is silence about how others are treated,
Impassion us with a desire for justice.
As we share bread and wine
may our eyes be opened
to recognise Jesus among us.
Blessing for Lent
In this season of Lent,
May we turn
May we dance….
Dance defiance on injustice
Dance inclusion on division
Dance forgiveness, generosity and kindness
Dance life in all its fullness.
May we join the dance of Jesus
And dance for a better way to live.