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Last Sunday's Sermon



The Readings


Romans 10:8b-13


"The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart"

(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

The Gospel
Luke 4:1-13


After his baptism, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread." Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone.'"

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, "To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus answered him, "It is written,

'Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.'"

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,

'He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,'

and

'On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'"

Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

The Sermon

Jesus was tempted

It is lent. It is a time for self examination, for fasting, and yes, confession. It is sometimes hard to admit that you messed up. I don't like to do it. It is bad enough to mess up but then to face the grim reality that whatever happened is your fault is a burden my ego resists. I remember as a child reciting the confession of sin in Latin. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa; my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault. At age ten I didn't really have a very sophisticated sense of the meaning of what I was saying. Maybe it would have been better if I had said, I've been bad, I've been bad, I've been very, very bad!

The point of what I am trying to say is that all of us humans have flaws and we as Christians need to face those moments when we made a mistake and ask God for forgiveness. The beauty of Christianity is that Jesus has told us that if we sincerely ask for forgiveness it will be granted.

Jesus was tempted in the desert and even in his weakened state he resisted the temptation Satan put before him. None of us have the will power of Jesus. We all are bad, even very, very bad from time to time. The important thing is after we have been forgiven, we move on.

When I look back at whether he was tempted three times by Satan and all of this came down exactly as it is written in Luke, I don't know. However, the message is clear. We are all tempted and we are tempted the most when we are at our weakest. Sometimes we slip and sometimes we don't. When we slip, we confess to God.

I remember going to confession when I was a child. It was truly an agonizing event. As I got older it became even more agonizing. I guess I was much better at sinning when I was a teen. I also became very adept at making as general of a statement about my sins as I could and still get absolution from the priest. I would say things like, “I had impure thoughts” when I probably should have said, “I looked at the pictures in Playboy” or some variation on that theme.

We have formal personal confession in the Episcopal church. It does not get used that much in the Episcopal Church but it is good to understand that it is available. Please know that if you choose this form of reconciliation it is important to note that the secrecy of the confession will under no circumstances be broken. As I said before the important thing to keep in mind is that if you sincerely ask for God's forgiveness and you vow to make changes in your life, God will forgive you.

Amen,
Fr. Fred

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