MORE ~ A homily for the first week of Lent

Associated Readings: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Matthew 4:1-11

More….

That is the offering that is given to Adam and Eve and to Jesus in our readings today.

More knowledge, more power, more independence from God. More, more, more!

It is indeed a word we all use so often. In fact I think our society has at its foundation, and has had at its foundation for years… the intoxication of more. More room in a house, more clothes on our back, more knowledge, more money, more stuff, more proof.

  • If we don’t have more house we don’t have enough
  • If we don’t have more knowledge we are lesser than the others
  • If we don’t have more money we are worth less
  • If we don’t have more stuff we are jealous of those beside us who do
  • If we don’t have more proof than we must question our faith

More, more, more.

More is so tempting; enough to choose the serpent over God. Intoxicating enough for Adam and Eve to be tempted into choosing a different path ~ a wonderful array of more was offered and it was simply too hard to pass up.

If we looked at the many books in the Bible we would be bound to find hundreds, thousands of stories really, where the heart of the story is really the intoxication of more. More manna required, more answers, more children, more land, more power, more access to the sacred, more adherence to the way the societies leaders want society to be led, more rules, more division between the clean and the unclean, more ability to justify why one should be able to separate oneself from the others over there because we over here are better than them, more fear, more structure…

More, more, more.

Just as the sin of more is personified as ‘the serpent’ for Adam and Eve it is the sin of more that is personified as ‘the devil’ for Jesus in the story of his temptation. It is as intoxicating as always… more bread says the devil, more power, and more protection.

But Jesus says… no to more and yes to God.

Jesus makes the choice that so many of us would find impossible to make… the choice to say no to more. In our society, where more is advertised so well, it is simply so alluring. To choose the radicalness of Jesus above more power, more wealth, more stuff, more comfort, more convenience… well that is indeed a difficult task.

The invitation during this season of Lent is to take time to reflect on the ways in which we are continually tempted to hold on to the more that ensures our life is exactly the way that we want it to be; the conveniences we want, the buildings we want, the structures we want, the community we want, the church we want.… it is just so hard to pass up.

More, more, more ~ it is like the mesmerizing dance of a snake that draws you in.

For the next forty days we are invited to ask ourselves:

  • What elements of the intoxicating ‘more’ are taking us away from God?
  • Where have we been tempted to see things the way that sin asks us to see it?
  • How have we been justifying that it is okay to want more money in our bank accounts, to justify the purchasing of more stuff, more vacations, more power, more anger, more privilege, and more convenience?

The task of Lenten disciplines are not to punish you… not to make you angry at God… but to spend more time saying yes to God. Whatever your Lenten journey includes you are called to seek God in your day to day life and to say no to more. If you are anything like me you will mess up over the next forty days. You’ll forget or you’ll let temptation win; because we don’t resist the way that Jesus was capable of resisting.

But each time we choose to say no to more, and yes to God we are living into our call to follow Jesus. Jesus who showed up and said; “NO MORE”. No more of your need for stuff, no more social segregation, no more feeling that you are better than the ‘other’, no more power, no more privilege, no more status quo, no more temples that exclude, no more access to the sacred for only a few, no more adherence to the rules that oppress, no more division, no more fear… NO MORE.

May Lent be a time of reflection and preparation… preparation for Easter Sunday when we receive the one thing we actually need more of; the radical resurrected God in our lives anew.

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