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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

11 March 2015: David Storey, All Saints Church, Steep

Sorting out belief in God

Some of us are in the middle of special courses put on for Lent. It is a time when the churches encourage their members to particularly look at their understanding of God and their relationship with God. This is something that Jesus did before he began his ministry of teaching. He took his time about it and avoided distractions by going into the desert, which was not able to support lives enough for other people to be there.

The only records we have of Jesus’s time in the desert are in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, where they record Jesus declaring that he would do no magic to feed himself because God said to him, “You shall not live by bread alone.” His sustenance was to be God’s guidance.

Next is recorded the temptation to use magic at the centre of his religion to get everyone to see him as the new religious leader for the people. He responds by declaring that “you shall not tempt the Lord your God.” I translate as “that is not what God is telling me to do.”

Then the temptation came to him to use the wisdom of the devil, human wiles, to become ruler of the world. He was invited to use all that was contrary to God’s ways to become ruler of the World. He knew that those were not God’s ways and declares that only God is to be worshiped and served.

Later he, as a Jew, summed up God’s teaching as “Love God and love your neighbour.” As another Rabbi added, “All the rest is commentary.”

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