Matthew 4: 1-11: Chocolate Tempters

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Chocolate Seeds for Lent 2005
Week 1, The Den, led by Marcus Curnow
Biblical Text: Matthew 4: 1-11b
World Texts: “Chocolat” The Movie
Revised Common Lectionary: Year A, First Sunday in Lent
Loosley based on Christ and the Choclaterie: A Lent Course, Hilary Brand, (Darton Longman Todd, London, 2002)_


What motivates the Comte to his frugal diet? His spiritual, physical, mental health or something else? Think of things you have chosen to ‘give up’ for a time. What were your motivations? What have you ever given up unconciously? What characters in the film had given up things unconciously?
A story by Frederica Mathewes-Green
Indian cowboy.jpg
I’ve got an idea for a movie script guaranteed to win an Oscar. We’ll call it “Sizzle.” See, there’s a village in India where all the people think there’s something bad about eating beef. It’s part of their religion, which says they should repress their desires and hate pleasure.
Then this sexy young cowboy comes to town and opens up a grill. All day long it’s thick steaks frying, or maybe some tender filets, and sometimes he dishes up a few racks of barbecued ribs.
Well, pretty soon the fragrance is drifting through the town, and the people can’t stand it. They try to resist, but one by one they sneak into the grill and have a little taste. Imagine the close-ups as their eyes water and a little shiny trail of grease slides down their chins. Sure, they feel guilty, but they just can’t help it. The village leader thinks he’s real holy and rails and rants, but it’s no use; that cowboy is so handsome and big-hearted and friendly, everyone can see he’s really the hero. He defies authority and sets people free.
At the end, there’s this really funny scene where the stuck-up leader breaks into the grill late one night, intending to destroy it, but instead he eats hamburgers till he’s sick. The next day, the holiest day of the year, the local guru gives a speech about how they’ve been misunderstanding their religion all along. All that really matters, he says, is embracing life to the fullest. The movie ends with a big party where everybody chows down on the juiciest steaks ever to kiss a grill.
How does this story make you feel? Why? Is Vianne a brave freedom fighter or sinister subverter of traditional values?
Biblical Text: Matthew 4:1-11
1The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert, so that the devil could test him. 2After Jesus had gone without eating [1] for forty days and nights, he was very hungry. 3Then the devil came to him and said, “If you are God’s Son, tell these stones to turn into bread.” 4Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say:
`No one can live only on food.
People need every word
that God has spoken.’ ”
5Next, the devil took Jesus to the holy city and had him stand on the highest part of the temple. 6The devil said, “If you are God’s Son, jump off. The Scriptures say:
`God will give his angels
orders about you.
They will catch you
in their arms,
and you won’t hurt
your feet on the stones.’ ”
7Jesus answered, “The Scriptures also say, `Don’t try to test the Lord your God!’ ”
8Finally, the devil took Jesus up on a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms on earth and their power. 9The devil said to him, “I will give all this to you, if you will bow down and worship me.”
10Jesus answered, “Go away Satan! The Scriptures say:
`Worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.’ ”
11Then the devil left Jesus, and angels came to help him.
What strikes you about the text? What questions does it spring to mind?
What can we discover about the nature of temptation and our response to it from this text?

Like Jesus, temptations come to us at our points of strength, not weakness. The stronger we are, the greater the temptations. The closer we get to God, the closer the Evil One moves in on us. “The higher the intention, the more demonic the power,” Gordon Cosby.


How does this resonate with your own experience?

UrbanSeed:church Lenten Reflections
First Sunday of Lent
“There is a threshold, it seems, where either the spirit cracks or some steel enters the soul.” – Graeme Barrett.
Recall when you experienced a difficult situation that called for your endurance.
Talk to God about the ‘cracks’ in your spirit that this situation may have left you with, asking for God’s healing. And celebrate the inner strength and wisdom that this situation has brought you.

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