Identity Politics

First Sunday in Lent

Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Luke 4:1-13

This time of year, especially every fourth year, we find ourselves in the US of A faced with representatives of the powers and principalities of this world. They offer to order the nation around things we most want – psychological safety, economic security, access to “someone like me” brokering power – in exchange for allegiance symbolized by a vote. Some even cite Scripture (or attempt to) to make their case, ostensibly as a proxy for shared identity and commitments with a desired bloc of voters.

It’s not so different a scenario from the story that confronts Christians this time of year, every year on the first Sunday in Lent. Jesus is faced with a representative of the powers and principalities of this world who offers authority in exchange for allegiance. The devil even cites Scripture to make his case – for what it’s worth, more accurately than most of the presidential candidates – as part of his test of Jesus’ freshly baptized identity. Read more

A Dangerous Prayer

You may have heard of the decision by a film distributor in the UK not to screen a short video featuring the Lord’s Prayer before the new Star Wars movie this December because some viewers may find it offensive. You may have also heard how this business decision has been received. You may not have heard from the Anglican Bishop of Sheffield, who considers why the powers and principalities have good reason take offense. Perhaps it’s a worthy reminder of the subversiveness inherent in faithfully observing the season of Advent.