Can we talk about temptation?
The Barna Group, esteemed pollster of religious values, says that temptation has become “virtual.” Internet and cell phone use have generated a whole new zone of temptations. What we once wouldn’t dream of doing in person we now are tempted to do online, such as expressing rage toward someone’s politics, or hunting down the price of our new neighbor’s home. And our digital devices can exaggerate bad habits we already have – such as envy, procrastination, lust and laziness.
But, as bad as it is to feel engulfed by temptation, how much worse to not feel it at all. To feel tempted means that you’re dedicated to something more than your own pleasures, that you’re resisting destructive habits, that you’ve set your goals higher. “My child, if you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing,” says the ancient Jewish writer Ben–Sira.
This Sunday we continue our sermon series on The Lord’s Prayer, examining the sixth petition, “Lead us not into temptation. . .” And this Sunday we’ll experience some temptation as the U.S. Open impacts our worship (see note below). Will we get rattled by the traffic, changed road directions, an earlier starting time (Concertino 8:45AM)?
My brothers and sisters, resist that temptation! Come to make our chapel an energy source of God’s reality and love, to share with all we meet. This Sunday, June 16, come to serve the Lord and prepare yourself for testing!