When I was a college chaplain, I served tea and cakes after chapel whenever a student had a birthday. But my own birthday fell in Lent, when several in the chapel group had given up chocolate and cakes.
This week’s readings are generally about the faithful. Deuteronomy describes God’s faithful care of a “wandering Aramean” or “Syrian about to perish”—most likely Jacob. The psalm echoes God’s faithful care of God’s own, safely abiding in the shadow of the Almighty. Paul reminds the Romans how uncomplicated it is to come by salvation: it only takes faithful hearts and faithful speech. And we see Jesus’ profound faithfulness as he survives the devil’s temptations in the wilderness.
Preaching these texts looks easy enough, maybe even uninspiring. It doesn’t get much more basic than faith.
Our Deuteronomy passage is set in the land of Moab, beyond the Jordan, maybe where Jesus went after his baptism and ordination. The 40 years in the wilderness are over, and the children of Israel have not yet been allowed into the Promised Land.