Genesis 2: 15-17, Matthew 4: 1-11
3university community. As we move into Lent we are being invited to listen more deeplyfor our purpose in this place at this time, sharing with each other what we have beenlearning together over the past few years from our experiences both with Odawa and withEdge. We must keep learning and not be tempted to measure ourselves by the idolatrythat lures us into believing that success can only be measured in certain ways, by size,power, wealth and ownership of property and land.As Jesus found strength from those words of scripture “Do not put the Lord yourGod to the test’, we too are given the courage to live into a life of faith where there arenot easy answers. The life of faith is most often lived in this in between place betweenbelief and questioning, doubt and trust. In the wilderness experience, some liken it towhat it feels like coming upon the edge of a cliff, wondering what choices are left tomove forward. Surely this is a powerful place to kneel down and pray.Those who have been aware of what has been happening in the life of thiscongregation may know that we have been putting our hopes in the work of a group inthe United Church called, Edge, which took it’s name at least 15 years ago because therewere so many congregations that seemed to have come to the outer edges of theircapacity to minister through the traditional ways and through questioning their mission,were imagining new ways in which God was and is calling them to live out their faith. Atthis edge we are wondering what theologies we have to let go of, what structures, evenwhat buildings that would signify what it is to be ‘church’. We are all being invited toshare our imaginings of how we can share God’s hope and life-giving love in our day.This group called Edge has worked diligently to help our church and several othercongregations in southern Ontario to find other partners, real estate companies that wouldhelp us to transform our physical space into new possibilities such as affordable housing.Unfortunately, they have found that at this point in time there has been no expression ofinterest which brings us back to the same cliff and an apparent roadblock in our own
4desire to be useful and sustainable. I have no magic bullet or solution of course, but I doknow that this Lenten journey will be for us a rich time for soul searching, conversationwith each other, being honest about our feelings, inviting us into a richer life of prayer aswe open ourselves both to God’s healing and leading.Certainly, on a broader scale, our entire nation of Canada and the many Indigenousnations are wrestling with profound questions about identity, about what it means to be asociety, to care about each other, how listen to each other’s needs and dreams respectfullywithout a hidden agenda of ‘winning’, no matter what and what ‘reconciliation’ lookslike. Both individually and collectively we are trying to discover that balance betweencaring for the earth, respecting the limits of creation, facing the realities of climatechange and developing an economy that is capable of sustaining and caring for the needsof all of us, especially those who are most vulnerable or voiceless.Jesus’ final words of scripture that he spoke to the Tempter who promised him all thekingdoms of the world and their splendor (ie gold, oil and investments) may offer ussome wisdom in this time when priorities are dramatically shifting – “Worship the Lordyour God and serve only him.” Through prayer and meditation, Jesus would continue tolearn what it meant to empty himself of his own desires for power, control, wealth andprestige and to simply trust in God his Father who would enable him to be a humanvessel of that deep well of God’s grace and love.And so with many troubles in our hearts and minds we begin our own Lenten journeyremembering that we are all in the wilderness together, in that pendulous state betweencertitude and suspicion, between truth and distrust, between identity and lostness—butwith the good and steadfast company of Jesus and the angels of heaven.Final BlessingWhatever wilderness the Spirit has brought you to:walk in boldness, as a beloved child of Godwalk in peace, under the shelter of the Most Highwalk in faith, knowing Christ walks with you. Amen.