Writing Psalm 102
Prophet Amos 7:10–15
Gospel Luke 4:10–13
The key here is to focus on the power of God to challenge our own sense of power, and thus one can use the longer or the shorter story from 1 Samuel. The reality is that there is violence in the world, and so we can be up front about it and include the story of the death of Goliath, without glorifying it. I believe the story can be told without the sense of “God is on our side.” However, a powerful enough story can be had simply by focusing on the central portion where, despite rejection from those who would judge on appearances, David presents himself as an agent of God. Being so chosen he also rejects the weaponry of the world, deliberately facing great danger armed only with alternative sources of strength and spiritual might.
The reading from Amos echoes some of the sentiments of the first reading, with Amos protesting his “innocence” as it were in terms of the role in which he has found himself. He had not planned to be a prophet, to speak the word of truth so plainly, but it was God’s doing. Psalm 102 has been chosen to complement these two readings.
For the gospel, we read the story of Jesus’ temptation – the story that traditionally is read on the first Sunday of Lent. Here Jesus, like David, is faced with fear and temptation, embodied in one called The Adversary or, in Greek the satan. The word often gets turned into a proper name, but it really is best understood in the way we would use the term “devil’s advocate.” This entity embodies the very antithesis of God, and challenges – in much the same way that Goliath does with David – Jesus to abandon his true self and give in to fear, hunger, lust for power. Yet, like David, emboldened by the Spirit of God, Jesus lets go the powers and temptations and fears of the world and in so doing maintains integrity and defeats evil.
This links with David’s and Amos’ trust in God, and reminds us of the need to be open, to bare ourselves to God if we are to be born again, if we are to be agents of rebirth. Eckhart writes, “For God wishes to have, and has to have, an unencumbered, untroubled, and free soul for this birth, a soul in which there is nothing but him alone, a soul that looks out for nothing and no one but for him alone.”
 Sermon 18, in Fox, Passion for Creation, p. 255.
copyright © 2006, 2009 Donald Schmidt “Taken from Emerging Word: a Creational Spirituality Lectionary by Donald Schmidt. Copies are available from him.”