Celebrates Twenty Years of equipping and supporting faith communities!

A message for the week starting on Sunday 26th February 2023

Lectionary Week: First Week of Lent

Prescribed Texts: Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7, Psalm 32, Romans 5:12-19, and Matthew 4:1-11

Our Covered-ness

Focus Text:  Matthew: 4:1-11

Temptations surround.  They appear attractive and seem to offer good – things like bread for the hungry and “the knowledge of good and evil.”  (If they didn’t offer what seemed to be good, they wouldn’t be tempting!)

But temptations even tormented Jesus!  For Jesus, it came wrapped in the guise of scripture.  He taught us to pray that we “not be led into temptation,” – because he knew, first-hand, that this was a necessary prayer.

Though we pray not to be led into temptation, sometimes we wander willingly, without thinking about it.   Temptations lead us down paths that seem good, but never are good.  In addition to offending God by succumbing to temptations, we also end up creating problems for ourselves.

But there is good news.

There is good news because God “gets it” (since Jesus himself confronted temptation).

There is good news because we can learn to resist temptation, because our very God is eager to “instruct us and teach us in the way we should go,” and “counsel us with a loving eye.”

There is good news because God is our “hiding place,” who surrounds with “songs of deliverance.”

And there is good news because we are, as David proclaims, “blessed,” because “our transgressions are forgiven,” “our sins are covered,” and “the LORD does not count sin against us.” Though Adam and Eve first tried to cover themselves (with inadequate fig leaves), GOD intervened soon after and, in one of my favorite manifestations of grace: “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21)

But that was just the beginning. The very good news is that, in Paul’s words, “the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”

Today we enter lent. We remember our weakness and our nakedness. But especially on Sundays – not counted in the 40 days that make up lent because of their special call to reconciliation and celebration and rest and wholeness – we remember our covered-ness.

To think about:

What, in my life, do I need to give up to God, and let God cover?

Written By: Rebecca J. Vander Meulen; Director, JC Flowers Foundation, Church warden, All Angels’ Church (New York) and Churches, Channels of Hope Facilitator and Trainer.