Gospel Reflections for Sun Feb 14th 2016

8 February 2016


Luke 4: 1-13   

The temptation of Jesus.


I was in Adelaide yesterday to take part in the recording of some short video clips, which will form part of the nation-wide roll-out of the Lutheran Education Leadership and Formation Framework (GROWING DEEP). This has been a major project of LEA over at least a three year period.


Here is part of the script …


“Right from day one, the writing team was adamant that our leadership and formation framework should be distinctively Lutheran. While we could draw a lot from other educational systems around the world, we did not want it to be a cut and paste exercise of other people's ideas, but rather built from the ground up. We especially wanted there to be our own spiritual and theological lens through which we could view and shape every dimension of leadership and faith journey - in fact every aspect of school operations.  Our desire was for this lens to reflect a contemporary style spirituality that would be relevant for and resonate with staff, students and families in the 21st century yet remain solidly grounded in our Lutheran theology. We also held the view that the framework must be for everyone - the bus driver, the groundsman the canteen worker, the finance officer - just as much as for the principal, deputy or other staff in leadership roles. The gospel was to be at the focal point of the lens. We think we have achieved that. The gospel informing all activities of a Lutheran school, underpinning everything that we do ... That's Growing Deep!”


I mention that because for this opening edition of Gospel Reflections for 2016, we are confronted with readings which really challenge us to think how they inform the daily operations in a Lutheran school. Last Sunday’s reading was the story of the transfiguration. (For some thoughts on that reading see Metamorphosis (transfiguration) from February last year.)


From what I can gather, it is traditional to use the Transfiguration reading before we enter Lent and then hear the Temptation account on the first Sunday in Lent. There may be some biblical / theological scholars amongst our circulation list who could throw some light on that for us!

For many of us, the temptation account is probably a familiar story. It would be easy to become engrossed in an analysis of the temptation, including the lead up (Baptism of Jesus), the desert setting, being led by the Spirit and the three specific sections of the temptation. As an observation, which is something of an aside, it does seem that this is a rare occurrence of the words of Satan actually being quoted in Scripture. I can think of the Garden of Eden exchange, the conversation between God and Satan in Job … but are there any others apart from this significant three-part event? 

As always though, I want to focus in this short space on what it means for us today as leaders in Lutheran schools. 

Can I leave this as an open-ended challenging question to start the 2016 school year?


How does the story of the temptation inform the activities of a Lutheran school in the 21st century?

In an age when we are surrounded by temptations such as those of capitalism, consumerism, the “I want” mentality, obsessions with building the nest egg, trading up to the latest in cars, house, TVs, Ipods, phones, cameras, clothes ... we have the challenging role of helping young people not to fall victim to these temptations and appreciate that there is more to life.