In Jesus’ temptation is a word to you about your endless desires. In the second temptation. Jesus is nameless and powerless in a resourceless wasteland. If ever there was an invisible man who for forty days or four hundred years dwelled in a desert of disregard, that soul can receive a visit from this word today, for Jesus had nothing.
To humble you and test you. . . by letting you hunger. Have you been there? Have you not been there? Who is “you” anyway?
But we are going there, to a place so far from the mere troubles of institution and organization which have vexed us. Hungering after our own experience of God, we will make the last appeal on behalf of the littlest and lost, the deceived and the dead, and thus we shall meet God anew on holy ground in the faith of the future.
Throughout my ministry, I have worked to help people dismantle weak and unstable terms for faith. Faith need not mean believing that God breaks the laws of nature to rescue the beloved. That branch can break; let it break. Faith need not mean believing that Bible stories record what a video camera might have seen. That branch can break; let it break. . . Faith is not a magic shield. That word will break. Let it break.
or many Sundays to come, we are going to tune our hearts to hear through the book of Job a word of promise and power for the church of God, for this church, and for any people bereft of what belongs to them; any people kept from sharing in what is good by powers that bind them. When we are done, you will never forget God’s word to you through Job.
I have never read stories of any nation so boldly self-critical as those of ancient Israel. What a gift! The people were old, tired, and few, say the stories, and they sinned monstrously. By all the stars, they should have failed. What did they do to get through? The answers are here in Just these few dozen stories called Genesis, kept because they contain lessons from the beginning for how a community in crisis can come through.