Rev. Mark Schaefer
Capitol Hill United Methodist Church
March 5, 2017—First Sunday in Lent
Genesis 3:1-9; Matthew 4:1-11
Image courtesy wordle.net
Genesis 3:1–9 • Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
Matthew 4:1–11 • Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
I went to a university about 15 miles away from where I’d grown up. And I lived on campus. My parents and I were of the same opinion: I was going away to college—even if that college was right next to the mall we always used to go to see movies. That probably made it easier for me, because even when I went away to college, I was in large measure still home. The radio stations were all the same, the TV channel lineup and evening news anchors were those I’d been watching my entire life. I knew the weather, the city, the whole culture of the area. I just had to get used to classes—and that was the exciting part. But on balance, my transition to college was easier, because I could still feel that I was home.
Leaving home is not easy. In my nearly 17 years working on a university campus I have seen my fair share of students arriving on campus having left home. The students take it with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Some cannot wait to get to college and practically bolt from their folks as soon as the opportunity arises. Others text their parents immediately and remain in as near to constant contact as our current state of technology allows.
Where most of our students used to come from the Mid-Atlantic states, more and more are coming to D.C. from California, Texas, and the West. We have always had large numbers of students who come from all around the world. Most of the students who come to AU do so having left home far behind. And that can be traumatic.
Even when it’s for a good reason, leaving home creates discomfort and anxiety. We find ourselves in unfamiliar surroundings, surrounded by unfamiliar people, with unfamiliar practices, and unfamiliar rules that everyone else seems to know but us. We become anxious as to whether we’ll ever make a new home where we are, whether we’ll ever feel that we belong, that we fit in. Continue reading