We live in a world of constant and fast change. What you see today is changed tomorrow and what you own today is outdated in six months. Because of this constant and fast change some of us find it difficult to relate to which is lasting and unchanging. That which lasts and should last is relationship with God and people. Relationships bring past, present and future together to form The History of Salvation for a future generation – even if those in relationship do not know how it happens. It is relationship that builds constancy, nearness and comfort.
In the introduction to the song “El Shaddai”, Amy Grant says, “I am glad to sing you a song about something that does not change”. But before Amy Grant it was said by the Lord Himself. “I am the God of Abraham, The God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”, is bringing God as real and constant presence. God also spoke concerning Christ “Here is my beloved, with whom I am well pleased”, becomes an invitation to the present and affirmative presence of the loving God here and now. “I will be with you always and will come again” becomes an assurance of hope for future.
Then God continued, “I and the Father are One. As We are One, bless them to be united.” These prayers go on and on. But seldom do we hear the beauty, power and grace of such prayer of Christ. The prayer for constancy, the prayer for unity, the prayer for relationship and the prayer of abounding love are all missed in the midst of all that flickers. For change is pleasing to the eyes and easy on the heart! Change gives us a high and takes us to the low at the same time. The irony of the flickering change is that it points to the constant and everlasting.
Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness and his hunger for food is given to show us there was a God before the perishing food and drink of humanity and that God did and will survive without human food and perishable wealth. Jesus’ temptation on the pinnacle of the temple was all about showing us that history proves beyond all doubt the nearness and presence of God here and now. Jesus temptation on the high mountain was again to say all that is good and bad, powerful and beautiful in the world is God’s and we are not required to bow down to the world or own it.
If Christ was tempted in all things, as we read in Hebrews and Matthew we shall not be tempted less in anything. But the better gift we have received is the gift of constancy through the hunger of the wilderness, the nearness and presence from the pinnacle of the temple and the comforting hope all is still in the hands of God and there is no need to fear of what future holds. What God holds no one else can give to us even if we bow down all we want. It is for God to bless us with when time permits it in God’s own eternal plan.
So there are three gifts God gives to those who are in the wilderness of their life but filled with the Holy Spirit. They are:
- God’s constancy to those who are ravaged by change around them.
- God’s nearness and presence to those who are afraid of the heights of loneliness and abandonment.
- God’s comfort and hope to those who fear the uncertainty of life and all that it holds.
In the midst of temptations of the day all what is required is simply remember the wilderness in life is where God is waiting for your soul, the pinnacle of problems is where God is holding you in His arms and the mountains of uncertainties are where everything is still owned and operated by God. Rejoice as you enter into this season of Lent for God is waiting for you next to you with a faithful heart and comforting faith.
© Fr. Jos Tharakan
- Sermons on the readings of previous Sunday can be found here
- Podcasts of the sermons can be found here
- Visit my church: All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Russellville, AR
- You can read more about me at my website
- You can subscribe to these readings by email. Enter your email address and click subscribe, and follow the instructions.