Given By Rev. Madison Shockley February 18, 2018

On this first Sunday in Lent, we reflect on our relationship with God. Our passage today is one of the foundations for this reflection on our faith journey.  It begins with Jesus coming to see John the Baptist preaching about repentance. Jesus is baptized.  Leading by example, Jesus showed that everyone can have this intimate relationship (father/child) with God. Baptism is like an adoption into a new family, God’s family. Baptism helps with our identity of who we are. We are a child of God. This replaces any negative image given to us by others in the world. This same spirit then drove Jesus out into the wilderness. Just like with Jesus, it does not let us rest but moves us forward. The devil tried to undermine Jesus’s identity just like the world challenges our identity as children of God. The passage continues with Jesus taking up where John left off after John was arrested and killed. Jesus lead the resistance to the Roman Empire. There are two themes with following the path of Jesus, repentance and resistance. Repentance is the process of turning away from the empire and all its distractions, hubris, and iniquities.  Resistance is shaking off the sedation of a society that rewards ignorance and trivializes everything political. This means to take a stand and impede the progress of this empire. The passage asks what is driving us since our baptism. Is it power, money, materialism, thingism, or middle-class security? We must give up our privilege. The driving force in our lives must be love.  We must love one another more than we love ourselves.