The readings at the Eucharist on the First Sunday in Lent this year begin with what sounds like instructions for a harvest festival. The passage from Deuteronomy looks forward to the life of the people of Israel in the Promised Land after their liberation from bondage in Egypt in the Exodus and their wilderness wanderings.
But they are not to forget those formative experiences, so the prayer which those who bring the first fruits of their harvest to offer to God recalls the mighty acts of God which have brought them to this place. Words are given to the people.
The Church’s equivalent of this is the remembrance in creed and Eucharistic prayer of the acts of God in creating and redeeming us.
The Israelites moved from being a nomadic people to being a settled agricultural community. Most of us have no first fruits to offer in the sense of things we have grown. So instead we bring money. We bring too the gifts of bread and wine which represent the work of agriculture and industry and commerce on which our city-dwelling lives depend. (The escalating horsemeat scandal is a reminder of the complex network on which we depend for the means of life.) We offer gifts to God, from whom we received them, so that they might become food for our souls as they are for our bodies.
We are also given words; the words of Scripture and liturgy.
St. Paul quotes Deuteronomy in the Epistle: “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart.”
Jesus, in the Temptation story in Luke’s Gospel, quotes the same book three times, to rebuff the Devil’s temptations to abuse his power.
But the devil too can quote Scripture, so we must beware. Before ordination, I had to pass an exam called “Use of the Bible.” It was jokingly known as “Abuse of the Bible.” We can abuse scripture when we use it to condemn others, rather than allowing it to transform ourselves.
The verses from Deuteronomy which Jesus quotes are apply to us in our Christian lives. We are to make life more than the satisfaction of physical needs; we are to worship and serve God alone; and we are not to put God to the test.
Fr. Alan Moses
Please pray for Christopher Ryan, Michael Harris, Linda Orme, Mary Barnet, Joshua Levy, Audrey Patterson, Celia Shore, Michael Sullivan, Rachel Clayton, Heather Walker, Brian Sparkes, John Rogers, Mason Jacobson, Barbara Laws, David Day, Timothy Montgomery, Timothy Harding, Andrew Tillyard, Jonathan Jennings, Melanie, Rosie Flack, Richard Turner, Isabelle Stoughton, Fred Mansfield, Martin Sergeant, Rosemary Harris, Eleanor Chapman, Bishop Stephen Conway, Robert Haldane, Deacon Andrew O’Connor. The Recently Departed: Marguerite Crill, Duncan Pingrift, Sheila Miller, Gilbert Rodway, John Gilmour, Mark Dalby. At the anniversary of their death: Frederick John Howard, Letty Attlee, Jack Hope, Alice Bennett (Lill) MacKay, Guida Crowley, Joan Williams, John Sanders Vickery
St Cyprian's Lent Course- Will be studying "Feast and Fast" by Christina Rees. Evening one is at Mary Ashwin's home on Thursday 14th February at 7.15pm. Further details from Fr. Gerald Beauchamp. Email: email@example.com
Friday 22nd February 7:05pm Stations of the Cross
Ten-to-One-Talks – This series of talks on our building and its meaning, given by the Vicar, resumes in March.
March 3. The Choir
March 10. The High Altar
March 17. The Reredos
Each talks lasts 10 minutes
Monday 11th March 7:30pm –The Licensing by The Bishop of Southwark of Fr. John Pritchard as Priest-in-Charge, St John The Evangelist, Upper Norwood SE19 2RX – (Nearest Train Station – Crystal Palace). ALL WELCOME