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Lent and Beyond: Next in the collaborative Lenten series - Fr. Binky the Web-Elf
Prydain ^ | 3/05/2006 | Will

Posted on 03/05/2006 6:00:19 PM PST by sionnsar

For today, we have from Lent and Beyond this amazing A Meditation for the First Sunday in Lent from none other than Fr. "Binky" of Classical Anglican Net News. Too bad we don't have more ordained "elves" in Anglicanism if they can write like this; please read this sermon--for that is what it is.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
This is the sixth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals by a group of Anglican bloggers and friends. Today’s entry is by the infamous “Binky the webelf” of the Classical Anglican Net News (CaNN) blog. You can read other entries in the series here.

A Meditation for the First Sunday in Lent

St. Matthew 4: 1-11

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”

So.. how are those New Year’s resolutions going? Mm-hmm. Good intentions and a few bucks will get you one of those frou-frou gourmet coffees.

In Lent we set aside the noisy confusion of the world, the racket of our restless selves, so we may be strengthened and made anew. We don’t travel this inward road alone, or by the strength of good intentions or resoutions– we follow Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, who was himself led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. By our friendship with him, we are embraced by the Father, and strengthened by the Spirit.

The wilderness is a place of silence, testing, clarity; a place of promise and preparation, where God tested and prepared his people Israel; it’s where many of the prophets come from, and where Moses, Elijah and Elisha went to fast and pray and wait upon the Lord.

Jesus has just been baptised, and heard the Father’s blessing– “This is my Son”– but what kind of Son shall he be? What ministry and path is truly his?

Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted…. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb.2:14, 17-18; 4:15)

Tempted as we are– and how are we tempted? You name it… Yet Jesus reveals once and for all what’s really happening, and what’s at stake in our spiritual battles. He was tempted as we are.. he prays with us, and gives us grace to overcome our burdens and troubles, to escape the razor-wire of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Jesus is hungry, alone, and into his prayers comes a voice.. the Enemy, the twister, the liar, the slanderer of God’s people.

Bread For Stony Hearts?

“If you’re the Son.. if only those round stones became warm loaves of bread. Why not?” But the Children of Israel had grumbled for bread in the wilderness long ago: will the Son promise bread and circuses, earthly fulfilment, chasing the worldly desires and longings of God’s restless people, and their desert-hearts?

“No,” says the Son– he himself is the true bread come down from heaven: It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word God speaks.’”

No ‘If Onlies™’ .. you know: if only I could get that job, a different spouse, a holier church, better health, a thousand ‘bread alone’ things clamouring and promising absolute fulfillment. Yet as St. Augustine put it, “Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee.” (Conf.I.i). So the Son teaches us to ask Our Father for our daily bread; and the Son shall bless bread and feed thousands; and he shall give himself as body broken and blood outpoured– our bread and wine–on the Cross, for us and for our salvation.


Days of Miracles & Wonders?

A voice: “Fine.. IF you’re the Son, God’s Word says the angels will keep you safe– so why not leap off the pinnacle of theTemple?” Yet the Israelites in the desert had mistrusted the Lord, demanded signs and wonders.. shall the Son be a miracle-machine? See? The Father loves me! .. easy does it: no cross, shiny crown.

“No,” says the Son. “Don’t put God to the test.” Jesus will not blackmail the Father, or use miracles to avoid suffering, perseverance, and faith: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.” It’s hard to walk and trust in God, to not see and yet believe. If only we could see angels or have visions, or if God would protect us from every bump or uncertainty or consequence.

How many evils and sins spring from our desire to avoid suffering and uncertainty?

So the Son shall trust his Father, and use miracles to show forth the Kingdom, and according to the Father’s good and perfect will; he shall leap indeed from life into death, and drink the appointed cup of suffering… and afterwards,  surrounded by the holy angels, on the third day he shall rise again.

A Tale of Two Mountains

Satan gets to the point, on a high mountain-top: “All this world of glittering prizes, powers, and pleasures: it is all yours for one act of worship before me– think of all the good you could do!” To rule over all, to be a king with mighty power, to serve… an idol? Israel had grown tired of waiting for Moses and God, and made their own golden calf, and worshipped and so lost the blessings they really had for idolatry, turning from God and the promised land and Kingdom which lay ahead. False god, false kingdom, ungodly King ruling by Satan’s power? Such had been the temptation and fall of the nation of Israel down the years.

“Begone, Accuser, for it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and only serve him.’”

There was another high mountain, crowned with flowers and a warm Spring breeze. The world lays spread out around the crucified and risen Jesus Christ, the kingdoms of the world await.. something. Jesus says to his disciples: “All power is given to me in heaven and earth. Go and baptise everyone– bring them into my Father’s Kingdom. Do all I have commanded you. And I will be with you as you do this, day after day, right up to the end of the age.”


Give Him Praise & Glory

In the wilderness Christ chose another way– for he was the bread from heaven, broken for you, who alone truly satisfies our deepest hunger; and the Son indeed leapt into death– but only by resolutely marching to the Cross by love, to die for us, and win for us eternal life; and Christ is and ever shall be the eternal King– but only by receiving the eternal crown of glory that fades not away, as the obedient Son of God, who rules over earth and heaven, over death and hell, over the hearts of his faithful people, who has indeed already won the resurrection victory, and calls us then to march, and pray, and suffer, and conquer, now and ever and unto ages of ages.


Although “Binky” likes to play an elf on the internet, he is in reality an Anglican priest in Canada. He started providing “hot & fresh” Anglican news on the web in 1998, and founded the “CaNN blog empire” in 2003.

1 posted on 03/05/2006 6:00:22 PM PST by sionnsar
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2 posted on 03/05/2006 6:01:08 PM PST by sionnsar (†† | Libs: Celebrate MY diversity! | Iran Azadi 2006)
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