Bread, miracles and empire: a sermon for the First Sunday of Lent 2014

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 9 March 2014: Year A, First Sunday in Lent

SERMON
Texts: Genesis 2:15-17 and 2.25-3.15
Matthew 4:1-11

Bread, miracles, and empire

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Today is the first Sunday in Lent, a time when it is traditional for the Church to encourage Christians to look inward, to think about how we might live more faithfully as Christians. It is a time which makes us face up to our imperfections, our failings. The theological word we use for this is ‘sin’- a word much misused and misunderstood. We often think about ‘sins’- plural- the things you do that you shouldn’t. We could all of us make a list- if we were being really honest- of those actions we have done which we realise were wrong. In the past the Church spoke of ‘deadly sins’ and the Bible itself suggests sins, for example, in the Ten Commandments- all those ‘shalt nots’. But I want to suggest today that the Bible not so interested in those individual wrong actions- your sins (plural), but, instead, is more interested in sin (singular). Today, at the beginning of Lent, I want to think, not about sins (plural). Instead, I want us to think about sin (singular). It is sin (singular) that today’s readings are about. In Genesis chapter 2 and in Matthew chapter 4, we are not given a list of wrong actions. These are stories not about what we do, but who were are. Continue reading