As preachers all over the world shift gears from Ash Wednesday to Lent 1, we find ourselves staring at some wonderful but dangerously rich lessons. Anytime one preaches on a passage that comes with its own nickname (like "The Fall"), preachers have to sort through tons of possibility and find a single focus or else the risk leading their congregations down a long, dark, and dull path of saying too much. I haven't heard or read a lot from other preachers, but I'd be surprised if most of us aren't trying to tackle temptation this Sunday.
"Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal..."
"As sin came into the world through one man..."
"...led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."
How will the preacher find a foothold? What will the focus be?
The nature of temptation--is the voice that comes at just the wrong time an external or internal whisper?
The temptation to misappropriate scripture--how many Christians, like the devil, wield the bible for their own purposes?
The power Christ gives us to resist temptation--if we can't do it on our own, how will we remain strong?
The source of temptation--does God lead us into temptation or do we get there all on our own?
Hopefully--for our congregations' sakes--we'll narrow it down. I'm sure there will be some good sermons this Sunday, and I look forward to reading and listening to some of them.