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Year C, Lent 1, 2016 – The Temptations

February 8, 2016 / Molly Douthett / Lent

Is it Just My Imagination – Running Away with Me?

I Ain’t Too Proud to Beg that My Girl be Treated Like a Lady. 😉

Due to an accident that totaled our car and has kept me confined to limited movement for the past week, we decided to give the Transfiguration a pass. We’ll both still be preaching on it this Sunday, but the podcast is moving on to Lent. We apologize for this and hope to cover those readings at a later date.

Meanwhile, the passages for the First Sunday in Lent, Year C, offered up a lot of riches. It was a bit like turning on a faucet – the ideas just flowed. We have something to offer for each smart and are very excited about how they all intermingle with one another. If you have been using this theory in your planning, you may also have been energized to see how one idea for one smart for one passage sometimes echoes in other smarts not just in the same reading but in the others, as well. We have a lot of cross pollination this week! Let’s go see.

This week’s texts

Deuteronomy 26:1-11 – In this passage, the people are getting ready to enter (or return to) the land that God had promised to Abraham’s descendants. Moses does not want the people to forget what they have gone through in the wilderness nor the reason for being there in the first place. When it comes time for the first harvest, Moses tells them, take the first yield of your crops to the priests and offer it to God. He also gives them a liturgical formula to use as they do it. I have read this passage many times before, but maybe because I am now looking at Scripture with eyes for intelligences, I saw the people coming forward, one by one, with their arms laden with food. I saw them prayerfully laying their gifts before God and then turning away to go back to their lives – hopefully with hearts full of gratitude for God’s actions. So, since I could see that, David and I decided to write a liturgy that gives our congregations the chance to walk in our ancestors’ footsteps. Look for the Offering Liturgy on the resources page and consider using it for your people. How might bringing our offering forward on the first Sunday of Lent echo through our lives for the rest of the season?

  • Word, Body, Nature, People, and Self Smarts
  • Deuteronomy 26 worksheet


Psalm 91:1-2; 9-16 – As you may have discovered already, I tend towards music. A lot. (I had to limit myself to only a few of The Temptations hits up above, or I would have lost all focus on the purpose of these show notes!) Yet, as I began reading this Psalm, the anthem/hymn “On Eagles’ Wings” popped into my head and would not leave. In 1978, Michael Joncas wrote “On Eagles’ Wings” taking the language directly from Psalm 91. Whether you like the anthem or not, it has become very familiar to congregations over the past 30 years or so. The choir at David’s church sang this in worship the first Sunday back after Christmas. We heard the first few measures of the song and both of us thought, “Oh, this one,” but by the time the choir had finished, we were both looking for tissues. Of course, there is more to this psalm than a popular anthem/hymn and we found some other ideas, including security and trust. What prominent images come to your mind when you read this psalm?

  • Body, Nature, Music, People, and Self Smarts
  • Psalm 91 worksheet


Romans 10:8b-13 – We’ve discovered we can truly rely on Paul to provide opportunities for exploring Math smarts! I often think that if Paul had been around in our era, he would have been either a law professor or an engineer. Most of what he writes is laid out so precisely – of course that was the pattern for apologists – and stands up well for modern thinkers. This reading does not lend itself to numbers or formulas, but does fit the pattern for resolutions – i.e., whereas, whereas, whereas, and whereas, therefore. It’s easy to get lost in Paul’s logic (both for its complexity and for its extensiveness), but he also includes vivid images of the body, as well. Speech, confession, lips, hearts, and calling on God fill out the categories of word, body, and self smart. This passage also echoes with the trust and salvation we saw in both Deuteronomy and the Psalm. What other connections do you see and how can you help your congregation into the deep waters of Paul’s thought?

  • Word, Math, Body, and Self Smarts
  • Romans 10 worksheet


Luke 4:1-13 – The Synoptic Gospels all include this story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Luke re-arranges the order of the second and third temptations and we discovered that the timeline of Jesus’ days apart varied a bit. In Luke, the wording suggests that Jesus was tempted for the full forty days he was out there and at the end, the devil hit him with these three specific tests. I had never noticed that before, and it makes what Jesus went through more intense and a lot more like an ordeal. Not that going without food forty days isn’t intense and an ordeal, but to have the devil at him the entire time makes it seem that much more harsh. The conditions of the wilderness – the danger to human life – connects with the dangers found in the Psalm. Jesus forty days in the wilderness echoes the Hebrews forty years in the Deuteronomy passage. And, all four passages for this week center around the issue of trust and salvation. What other links do you see among them?

  • Eye, Body, Nature, People, and Self Smarts
  • Luke 4 worksheet



Deuteronomy 26

Word Smart


Nature Smart

  • A link to discussing Israel’s identity as the Land of Milk and Honey
  • Why ample irrigation is needed for plants to produce abundant nectar (honey)
  • Why fertile crops are important for cows to produce milk freely


People Smart – links to Black History Month in the USA

  • Explore the theme for Black History month 2016
  • A list of events around the country this year
  • Some background about Black History month


Psalm 91

Music Smart

  • A brief biography of Michael Joncas
  •  A link to sheet music for “On Eagles’ Wings”
  • Another link to the music


Nature Smart

  • Some basic information about lions
  • Some information about lion’s behavior
  • An article in Smithsonian Magazine about lions
  • I could not find “adder” when I looked. Here is a Wikipedia entry about puff adders.
  • And here is another – kinda scary- article from Smithsonian about deadly snakes.


Romans 10

Body Smart

  • This is a very simple diagram that shows the fundamentals of speech in our bodies.
  • This is a slide show that goes into more detail.


Self Smart

  • A brief article defining how “the heart” is understood in both the Old and New Testaments.


Luke 4

Body Smart

  • I’ve often wondered if Jesus’ lack of food made him hallucinate his encounter. This does not seem to be the case, but going without nourishment for long periods of time is NOT good for the body.


Nature Smart

  • A brief exposition from Wikipedia about the geography of the Judean Desert
  • An interactive map of Israel in the first century


People Smart

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