Prayer: Guiding Father, it sounds so nice to think we are led by the Spirit but sometimes our paths are difficult. Help us to know you are with us always. Amen
Reading: Luke 4: 1-13 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: I recently sent an inspirational refrigerator magnet to someone. Basically it said I was praying for her. "May you always have enough happiness to keep you sweet; enough trials to keep you strong; enough...etc., etc. So nice...except three days later she ended up in the Emergency Room! That certainly was not what I had in mind and certainly not what she wanted.
Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened, the Holy Spirit came down and that all seems lovely! However, in the very next chapter of Luke, Jesus was led by the Spirit into a difficult situation: the desert (or wilderness). On top of that, Jesus ate nothing for 40 days. Then, having hit what I would think would be rock bottom (seeing as I cannot go even one day without a good cup of tea), the devil came along to tempt Jesus. Definitely that is not what I would have had in mind or wanted.
But when the devil had finished all his tempting, (if I may here reference another gospel- Matthew 3: 11), angels came and attended Jesus. And that is exactly what happened to the recipient of my well-intentioned gift of an inspirational magnet. Along with competent and caring medical staff, two other angels (good friends) appeared in the ER to be with the lonely, sick patient and with them she was kept strong.
We are led by the Spirit in all times. It may not always be what we had in mind or wanted, but the presence of the Holy Spirit is what we need. So, while I may back off on giving meaningful magnets as gifts, the prayers will always continue. --Ruth Gates
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