(click above for full reading)
“And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan;
and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him”
Hills and Valleys
(click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
In the video linked here, author Glennon Melton uses a made-up word: Brutiful (Note: we watched to 3:25 on Sunday morning). It’s the combination of beautiful and brutal, and she uses it to describe what life is like. Life is beautiful and brutal. Sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s the other, sometimes it’s both at the same time.
Our journey of faith can also be described in this way. Sometimes we feel our faith is strong, that God is so close, that everything is going right, and we might say that our faith in those moments is beautiful. But sometimes, it feels like God is very far away, when our faith is challenged, and we keep taking hit after hit. In those days, we might say our journey of faith is a brutal one.
Today’s Gospel tells us that when we are in the wilderness, when life is brutal, the greatest temptation is to believe that we are in it alone.
But today’s Gospel also reminds us that God has promised to be with us, and that no matter how we are tempted to buy into the lie that we are by ourselves, God does not and will not leave us.
Not only did God send us the Holy Spirit through our baptism, but God sends us each other.
And so we held hands yesterday to end the sermon, to remind ourselves and each other that part of being in a community of faith is holding someone up when they are in the wilderness, and being the one to be held when we are.
Life is Brutiful. But we are not alone.
Questions to Ponder/Discuss
1. What does it feel like to know you have been promised you’ll never be alone? Do you believe it? Why or why not?
2. Is your life more beautiful or more brutal right now?
3. What are some ways you can be a support or be supported in your brutiful life?
We all know someone who is in the wilderness, who needs to be held up, who needs to know they are not alone. That person needs YOU. They need you to pray for them, to reach out to them, and to bring them into this community of faith that will surround them and support them and remind them that they are NOT alone. Find that person this week. Pray for them, approach them, talk to them, ask how you can help, and maybe even invite them to church next week.