As with each First Sunday of Lent the Gospel tells of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness; as we begin the journey of Lent, during which we will consider our lives as members of the Church, we look to the example of Jesus when it comes to dealing with temptation. Choosing to follow God's path is the first characteristic of the Christian: this is underlined in the two other readings, which outline the two" creeds" or statements of belief - one of Israel and one of the Christian. Both of them emphasise "believing in the heart and confessing with the lips": both creeds underline the Salvation that God has achieved - for Israel it was freedom from Egypt, for the Christian freedom from death in Jesus.
Notes for Readers
First Reading: Deuteronomy 26:4-10
The Creed of Israel. In Lent we revise our faith, and so we begin with the story of God's involvement with the chosen people in the Old Testament. This is a summary of several hundred years - the call of Abraham, the bondage in Egypt, liberation and escape and settling in the Promised Land. Read the first paragraph as an introduction, and then pause. Use a different (more solemn) tone for the "profession of faith". Imagine a person standing before the altar of God and reciting these words. Take the pronouncement slowly - make sure you can separate the different "episodes" of Israel's history, and pause slightly between each. Notice that the sentences are all quite small, which should help you emphasise them. Pause again after the statement, and resume your "introductory" tone, for the instruction to lay the gifts before the altar and bow down before God
Second Reading: Romans 10:8-13.
The Creed of the Christian. This continues the idea of the Old Testament Reading - that God saves his people - by talking about our faith in Jesus, and especially in his resurrection from the dead. Just as the people of Israel praised the God who rescued them, so the Christian "believes from the heart" that Jesus is raised from the dead, and "confesses from the lips" that Jesus is Lord. As has been mentioned many times before, when we read the word "you" or "your" in Saint Paul, it is addressed to today's congregation. This reading is about our faith. It should be slow and emphatic, and directed deliberately to the congregation - with eye contact if possible. Make sure you put the emphasis on the right words: “faith”, “lips”, “heart”, “saved”, “righteous”, “everyone”.
Click on the link to get this Sunday Wordsearch. Feel free to copy and paste it into your parish publications.