Good Friday morning and the beginning of another Memorial Day Weekend. Thank you to all who served our country and who are currently serving. I appreciate your sacrifices and courage. The American Legion will not be conducting any flag ceremonies this year due to COVID. That is a shame, but understandable. Our cemetery looks beautiful thanks to the hard work of Mr. Anderson (I can’t think of his first name) who was out mowing and trimming, and all the others who decorated gravesites.
This would be a good day to drive by the church at noon, hear the bell ring and park by the cemetery to pray.
Remember the part of the Lord’s prayer that says, “Lead us not into temptation”? The verses in James today are about temptation.
Luther’s explanation of the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer in the Small Catechism goes like this:
“And lead us not into temptation.”
“What does this mean? God tempts no one. We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory.”
James 1:13-16 (NRSV)
“No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved.”
Some Hellenistic Jews believed that each person had both an evil inclination and a good inclination; and since God created both inclinations in humans, the individual could blame God for their moral lapses. James lovingly (my beloved) says, “no, no, no! That’s not how God operates.”
Luther should have loved James for writing that! As we go into the Memorial Day weekend, let us not be tempted by the world; let us not be tempted to speak nasty words about our brothers and sisters in Christ; let us not be tempted to blame God for our evil inclinations. Let us rejoice that we have a God who loves us dearly and who keeps God’s promises to us.
Blessings on your day,