Rev. Dr. Marie P. Braxton, Asst Pastor
Metropolitan AME Church
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Scripture Lesson: Luke 4:1-13The Temptation of Jesus 1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’” 5The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” 9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10For it is written: ” ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 12Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
The scripture Luke 4:1-13 is a traditional reading for the first Sunday in Lent. The passage, addressing the temptation of Jesus, is a widely used and familiar text. The setting is the wilderness of the Judean desert, near Jerusalem. Jesus was led to the desert by the Holy Spirit where he was tested for 40 days. In the Bible, 40 days represents a very long time. He had been on a food fast, and he was very hungry. In the scripture, which is titled “The Temptation of Jesus”, Jesus underwent at least three tests from the devil during that 40 day period.
1. The Test of Self-Sufficiency. Test #1, is found in verse 3 where the devil says: “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” The devil is so cunning; he acts as if he cares about Jesus’ hunger. But Jesus replied: “Man does not live by bread alone.” The temptation of test #1 is: SELF SUFFICIENCY – meaning that you think you can depend on yourself and your own resources. We tend to think of self-sufficiency as a virtue; we teach our children to be self-sufficient. But beware: self-sufficiency is a sneaky temptation. If you make it your altar, if you make it your exclusive aim, you have no need for your family, no need for your church, no need for your community, no need for GOD. You are worshipping SELF. You must surrender yourself to God; you must trust Him, rely on Him. You must beware of the temptation of self-sufficiency.
2. The Test of Power. Test #2 is found in verses 5-7: “The devil led Jesus to a high place; he showed him all the kingdoms of the world and said: ‘If you worship me, I will give you power over all these kingdoms.’” The temptation of test #2 is the temptation of POWER. In our daily lives, we usually want power on a smaller scale than what is represented in the scripture. I wish I had power over where my husband leaves his shoes, all lined up in our bedroom instead of in our closet. I wish I had power over the rush hour traffic, with a lane all to myself. In the scripture, Jesus answers the devil with a quote from Deuteronomy 6:13: “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord and serve Him only.’” Only God is almighty, all-knowing, ever-present, perfect, righteous, just, true, and everlasting. As the hymn goes: “God is the joy and the strength of my life…He is my all and all.”
3. The Test of Invulnerability. Test #3 is found in verses 9-12. The devil leads Jesus to Jerusalem, quoting Psalm 91: 11-12, he says: “If you are the son of God, throw yourself down from here; if you are truly the son of God, the angels will protect you.” The temptation of test #3 is the temptation of INVULNERABILITY. Some of us think our health, our wealth, our assets, etc. have made us invulnerable. But now we are facing unemployment, foreclosure, loss of healthcare, etc. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be invulnerable? To not be exposed to life’s hurts and disappointments? In fact, it doesn’t matter who we are or what we have: we will all experience trials and tribulations, good and bad days, rough mountains, storms. But through it all, I have learned to trust in Jesus. Jesus responded to this 3rd temptation quoting Deuteronomy 6:16: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” After that, the devil finally backed off, and went away.
This famed passage warns us to be wary of the temptations of self-sufficiency, power, and invulnerability. But take a look at verse 13: “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Jesus alone until an opportune time.”
Don’t get too comfortable thinking you have defeated the devil, because HE WILL BE BACK. He will be back with more lies to tell, to rob and steal. You can go through your fasting, praying, singing, and shaking him off, but he will be back to attack you at your weakest point. He will come back and attack you through your husband, through your wife, through your children, through your grandchildren, through your friend, through your neighbor, through your boss.
And when he comes back, when temptation comes, be sure you are anchored – in the Lord, in worship, in prayer, in the Bible.
Tags: Rev. Dr. Marie M. Phillips Braxton
Wednesday, February 17 – Ash Wednesday
12:00 pm – Pastor Braxton
7:30 pm – Rev. Marie Braxton
Choir: Cathedral Choir
Wednesday, February 24
12:00 pm – Rev. Kimberly Barnes
7:30 pm – Rev. Rodney Barnes
Choir: Metro Aires
Wednesday, March 3
12:00 pm – Rev. Kimberly Barnes
7:30 pm – Rev. Aisha Karimah
Choir: Men’s Choir
Wednesday, March 10
12:00 pm – Rev. Kimberly Barnes
7:30 pm – Guest Preacher
Choir: Voices of Inspiration
Wednesday, March 17
12:00pm – Rev. Kimberly Barnes
7:30pm – Rev. Charles Sembly
Choir: Voices of Inspiration/Guest choir
Wednesday, March 24
12:00 pm – Rev. Kimberly Barnes
7:30 pm – Guest preacher
Choir: Cathedral Choir
Wednesday, March 31
12:00 & 7:30 pm- Rev. Kimberly Barnes
Choir: Men’s Choir
Tags: Lenten Worship Preaching Schedule
Download the 2010 Lenten Book.
The devotions in this booklet were written by the people of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, a community of believers. Writing and distributing the booklet have become an important ministry of the Commission on Christian Education.
These reflections are our gift to you. Our hope is that you will find the scripture, thoughts and prayers helpful as you experience this season of Lent.
This collection of thoughts and prayers come from a variety of perspectives. Each serves as a testimony to the writer’s desire to share his/her spiritual journey. Through these devotions you get a glimpse of our Metropolitan family’s efforts to follow the teachings of Jesus.
We hope you will find this booklet useful as a rich resource for your daily devotions. We invite you to begin by using the guide on pages 46-47 to chart your spiritual journey through Lent and on to the glory of Easter.
May God Bless You!
Dr. Yvonne L. Bolling
Director, Commission on Christian Education
Steward Elsie Scott
Steward Elsie Scott will be awarded a Living Hope Award by Greater Mt. Nebo AME Church in Bowie, MD during the 11:00 am service, Sun, Feb 21.
Tags: Dr. Elsie Scott
“If I touch the hem of His garment, then I will be healed” Matthew 9: 20-21
Limited Edition Lithograph Commissioned by Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C. – “A Women’s Season” Celebration, 2004
Edition Size 900, Artist Proofs 99, Image Size 21” x 28”
Signed & Numbered,* Price $150.00 Artist Proofs $200.00
Please Call (202) 832-0067 to purchase this beautiful print today.
Ramee Art Gallery
606C Rhode Island Ave., NE
Washington, DC 20002
Limited time SPECIAL when purchased together:
BOOK: “WHEN I TOUCHED” – $9.99
, Limited Edition
Rev. Ronald E. Braxton, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan AME Church, Washington, DC
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Scripture 17A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19“O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”“From childhood,” he answered. 22“It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” 24Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 25When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
Jesus invited Peter, James and John to go with him onto a mountain where the three disciples witnessed Jesus’ “transfiguration”. Jesus’ face began to shine; his garments glowed; Elijah and Moses appeared. The scripture text begins immediately after Jesus’ transfiguration, when Jesus and the three disciples leave the mountain and join the other 9. The other 9 disciples had been out among the people ministering, teaching, and healing. A father had brought his son to the 9 disciples so they could heal the boy of his affliction – he appeared to be possessed by demons, causing him to thrash about, gnashing his teeth and foaming at the mouth. When Jesus arrived, the man approached him, asking him to heal his son. He said: “Father, I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
The disciples wrestled uncomfortably with why they could not heal the boy. The boy’s father asked Jesus: “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus said: “If? Everything is possible for him/her who believes.” The boy’s father replied: “I do believe; but help me to overcome my unbelief.” The Gospel of Mark lays out the foundational issues that Jesus’ disciples, like all humans, wrestled with: faith in God and faith in their own ability to access God in their daily living.
The scripture tells us how to handle mountains that loom over us in our daily lives.
1. Never be so spiritually inept that you cannot admit that, in your own humanity, you experience faithless times in your life. There is a “Doubting Thomas” in each of us. Yes, I believe, but there is a part of me that borders on unbelief. The disciples even queried why. As strong as we think our faith might be, mountains sometimes loom larger than our faith. Yes, I believe, but God help me in my unbelief!
2. Let the mountain draw you closer to God. Take your eyes off the mountain and focus on God. Jesus’ garments were still glowing from his transfiguration, but the boy’s father did not recognize the power right in front of him! All the father could see was his son and the demons. The mountain can overshadow your hopes and dreams. Take your eyes off the situation and focus on Jesus; focus on the power of God who can do all things. Say, yes, I believe, but God help me in my unbelief!
3. Some things can only be accomplished by prayer. We can do some things; there are some mountains we can move by ourselves. But there are some mountains we cannot move on our own. There are some things in our lives that only God can move. All we can do is pray, pray, pray non-stop. Never doubt that prayer can conquer every mountain, every trap, every obstacle on your path. Fall down on your knees and keep on praying. God moves mountains; through prayer you can conquer anything. God may not choose to move the mountain out of your way, but prayer will give you everything you need to deal with your mountains.
In the Book of Judges, the prophetess Deborah, through the power of prayer, moved Barak on Mt. Tabor and to defeat an army that was 10 times greater than his own. Without prayer, a molehill can turn into a mountain. Through prayer, with a little bit of faith, just the size of a mustard seed, you can say: “Mountain, get out of my way!” Jesus will give you the power.
Tags: Rev. Ronald E. Braxton
Wilberforce University Choir
Wilberforce University Choir Concert
Sat., Feb. 27, 5:00 P.M.
Tickets $15; Sponsors $25.
Jacquie Gales Webb, Mistress of Ceremonies
The Wilberforce University Choir traces its roots back to 1878 as a standing reminder of the days when the traveling chorus was the life and support for many of our historically black colleges and universities; of which Wilberforce University stands proud as the first. Over the years, the Choir has traveled extensively and has undergone the leadership of several directors. Today’s Choir is composed of more than fifty singers, led by Director Jeremy Winston. The Choir’s repertoire includes a variety of artistic genres, such as the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras of the Classical style, the African-American concert and traditional spirituals, traditional and contemporary gospel, vocal and instrumental jazz, as well as opera and Broadway styles.
Since Mr. Winston has led the Choir, it has embarked on an exciting artistic path. For its annual Spring Concert in April of 2004, the Choir hosted tenor Roderick Dixon from the critically acclaimed Cook, Dixon and Young and 3 Mo’ Tenors, in a one-time performance of Adolphus Hailstork’s I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes. In November 2004, the Choir introduced its annual fall concert at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral in Jamaica Queens, New York which featured jazz artist Rachelle Ferrell. In April 2005, the second annual Spring Concert hosted Ray Charles’ longtime manager and business partner, Joe Adams, as he presented the first Ray Charles Award to opera star Kathleen Battle. This evening extravaganza featured the Wilberforce University Choir and Grammy Award Winners Take6 honoring the operatic artistry of Ms. Battle and the musical genius of Ray Charles.
The Wilbeforce University does two annual national tours, in spring and summer. During Spring Break at Wilbeforce University, the Choir travels to the East Coast, and concertizes in cities including New York, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and D.C. The Summer Tour has taken the Choir West, to perform in cities such as Boise, Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.
Our Allen Digital Computer organ was recently repaired by Jordan Kitts. Watch the video on their facebook page.
Due to the possible poor driving conditions, the Women’s Bible Study class is canceled for Friday, February 12.