03/05/17 - "Know Who by Knowing Whose" - Gospel Matthew 4:1-11

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   I've seen it a hundred times. No matter how tough someone thinks they are, culture shock levels the field. Outside your comfort zone, and feeling a bit lost, things just aren't quite the same. I once went to the airport to meet a builder who was coming out to the mission to help. He had been given very clear instructions on what to do when he arrived, but in his excitement, he forgot it all. I was awaiting him, just beyond the luggage carousel. When he came out I recognized him immediately. He was 6'6", he was bald, he had tattoos all over his arms...all of that I was expecting. What I wasn't expecting, was that he was crying. Someone had "offered" to help him through the whole process and stole his money and his passport. He'd never experienced such a violation before. And now he had no clue what to do next. When I found him and told him who I was, he became instantly attached to me. He gave me the impression that had I asked him to hop on one foot indefinitely, he would have done it, because I was the closest thing there to anyone or anything that reminded him of home. For a brief moment there, he had forgotten to whom he was connected and felt very alone.

       That separation from the familiar, disrupts our identity, for it is our home, our family and our context, that identifies us and helps us to know who we are and whose we are. Once we lose sight of that for any reason, we are tempted to think and behave differently. We, in short, are tempted to sin.

     Jesus risked that temptation and lost-ness, for us, when he wandered into the barren loneliness of the desert. We'll explore what temptation means and how to avoid it. 


~Pr. Luther