This month’s theme is entitled ‘Life Frame”. It’s an invitation to look at the experiences in our lives that we feel are important and begin to evaluate the place and position that we give to wealth and material possessions.
For some life frame is dominated by sport and high risk pursuits. For others there may be a longing for a more quiet and less stressful existence. Over the next three months Sanctuary First is going to explore the significance of the temptations of Jesus Christ in the Wilderness. We aim to take one temptation each month and begin to explore how it might speak to our lives in the 21st Century.
In Mathew’s Gospel we’re told that the essence of the first temptation was to “turn stones into bread” in other words to concentrate on his immediate physical needs rather than reflect on the significance of a wider and deeper human need. Human nature hasn’t changed much today we face the temptation to make sure “I’m all right Jack”. The temptation to satisfy the physical needs of self and family and ignore the fact that we are more than body and soul, were are spiritual beings.
Week 1 - Knowing Yourself - there’s more to You than meets the I
During our prayers and daily devotions in week one we will concentrate on what it means to know yourself. There is more to you than meets the “I”. The prayers will invite us to consider what it means to know that God our father takes great delight in us. To understand God is in our Life Frame. To know we are more than simply flesh and blood. We are made up of body soul and spirit. Our biblical reflections will invite us to understand that we are not defined by what we do, or who we know, or what we have in material possessions. We are simply defined by the share grace and love of God.
Week 2 - Don’t Fall for all that Stuff
In the wilderness Jesus was tempted to frame his life around wealth and material possessions. the temptation was to do as many had before become a man of power through attaining stuff. The temptation was to build his life and his message on the importance of achieving success through material wealth. This would then be the message that he would preach and pass on to his disciples. However Jesus knew that wealth and possessions are empty objects what really lasts is the achievements that are built upon relationships of trust and love. We humans cannot live and exist on a physical plain alone. We need to be inspired to think about higher goals. Somehow. somewhere eternity has been placed in our hearts. We are always looking for more. Getting more stuff only fills our life frame with clutter. Clear out the clutter and make space to be.
Week 3 - The Seduction of Debt
In week three we begin to think about the seduction of debt. It is because we always want more that we find ourselves falling into debt. The instant gratification of having things can be a powerful magnet drawing us into an ever increasing cycle of debt and worry. The prayers this week will reflect the fear and the isolation that debt brings. The prayers should also include an insight into the seduction of greed and the cost of debt and its impact on some of the poorest people in the world. It would also be useful to have a prayer that invites God’s help to focus our eyes the poverty of our spirituality and our need to nourish our spiritual lives. Grace seeks to make no man its debtor.
Week 4 - The significance of real wealth
During this week we will concentrate on what it means to encounter the generous grace of God. What does it mean to be rich in Christ. In the first temptation Jesus turns away from riches and in the words of Philippians. “He who was rich became poor so that we who are poor might become rich.” In these prayers it is important to reflect upon the beauty of poverty. We must not glorify physical poverty however we need understand what it means to be poor in spirit and open to god’s grace. Turning our backs on seduction of materialism enables us to become rich in the things of the Kingdom of God.