Rev. Lee A. Ireland is the Designated Term Pastor at Groton Congregational Church in CT.
Scripture: Luke 4:1-13 (NRSV)
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”,
“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.
Reflection: Whom Do You Serve?
This day, if someone were to ask you to come and work for them, to pack up your belongings and follow: would you go? If Jesus asked, would you follow?
Can you describe to someone - this God whom you say you serve? Have you spent time actually trying to describe God on paper? As a pastor for over 25 years, I’ve realized we’re all guilty of making God into our own images to serve our purposes ...until ...our world collapses through some kind of event; be it medical, a broken relationship, tragedies, or more currently through the isolation due to Covid.... and we find we’re in a time where the world we’ve been taught collides with the world we are living....and the old teachings fall apart and God seems like a fantasy.
It’s fascinating, that after Jesus was baptized and “Full of the Holy Spirit,” he was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, where he was tempted by the devil and concluded with “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” After which the devil left.
I’ve never had 40 straight days and nights like that, but I have had quiet times. I know the demons I’ve faced and being asked, “Who is God?” and asking others that question to help them unpack their understanding.
What sent me to seminary finally, was watching the movie, “Sophie’s Choice.” My heart was destroyed as I watched and realized what Sophie was being asked; for my young daughter and son were asleep upstairs. I knew I had to go study and be a person who would try to counter that way of interpreting God’s Call.
We’re living in a time, when it’s really important to ask again: Whom do you serve?
Holy God, fill us too with the Holy Spirit so that we may know you and serve you. Amen
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayers of Intercession:
- For the families and friends of more than 944,000 who have died due to the Covid-19 disease
- For the people of Ukraine whose lives have been shattered by war
- For those grieving or suffering after a mass shooting in Las Vegas which left 1 dead and 13 injured. There have been 69 mass shootings in first 59 days of 2022.
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For the Season of Lent
This Week in History:
March 1, 1872 (150 years ago) President Grant signs a bill creating the nation's first national park: Yellowstone. Approximately 2 million acres in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho was designated to be preserved “from injury or spoilation, of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders within.”
“Study the past if you would define the future.”