This first week of Lent I would like to reflect with you on building your spiritual house. As a collective community, a people that God has called and made His own. Before we look at our Genesis reading on the sin of our first humans and the Gospel of Matthew and Jesus being tempted in the desert, I begin with this reading from the Book of Joshua.
The people of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you given us only one allotment and one portion for an inheritance? We are a numerous people, and the LORD has blessed us abundantly.” “If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.” The people of Joseph replied, “The hill country is not enough for us, …
Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours;
Joshua 17:14&15, 17&18a
God has a design and plan for His people. We are not left alone to our own fate as it were but God blesses and encourages us to be His own. From creation God’s destiny and glory is given to us. In this reading from Joshua the people of Joseph complain that what is given them isn’t enough and he tells them to go into the hills and clear the Land and there build for themselves a home.
This Lent is your time for building and forming yourselves strongly and profoundly as God’s people. What we have is an abundance of blessings, God bringing together and forming here in this place his people.
In this weeks first reading we find God’s crown of creation, humanity, unsatisfied even though God had given them everything. Even with the abundance of the Garden of Eden they wanted more. We see the woman enticed to eat the forbidden fruit and she gives it to her husband. This temptation and this selfish act separates them from God.
You see church, building a spiritual house this Lent requires that we not allow the selfish temptations to lure us away from God and what he has instore for us but rather we need to clear the land and heal the land so that we might be reformed into a spiritual house. Through Jesus Christ the new Adam we have the capacity to move beyond selfishness and self-centeredness. We cannot be afraid of what lies ahead as Joseph’s people did, but rather be encouraged that stronger together we can build the spiritual house God intends for us to be.
1st Peter 2:5 reminds us.
“like living stones, let yourselves be built* into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
Each one is a vital part of one another. In Satan’s attempt to entice and temp Jesus he seeks to deny Jesus true identity. The creator cannot worship the creature. Satan failed and Jesus conquered. When we are caught up in our own individual designs or allowing the falsehoods of others determination of us to deny our identity and destiny we loose our selves and identity, who God is really calling us to be as His people formed into a spiritual house.
We do not let others define us, nor determine what is acceptable of our history and what isn’t. Self determination and actualizations is our birthright. The pain of our journey our struggle is ours and we cannot be silenced. Our collective experience where we’ve journeyed from to arrive in this place is valued and we matter. Let this Black History Month be a reminder of where we’ve come from. And we are being set on a new path to become and enter into the greatness God has for us.
God is our Savior, He is our Healer, He is our Deliverer. He is forming us for something Big, This is your Season, This is Your Time.