Today is "Temptation Sunday." Every year on the first Sunday in Lent we focus our attention on the story of the temptation of Jesus. It is a story that has captured the imagination of Christians for centuries. They have sought to portray in art what it must have been like for Jesus to have been tempted by the devil. The picture on your sermon outline this morning portraying this ugly, grotesque, devilish creature is typical of the way the evil one has been portrayed. If the devil looked like this, you would never miss him. You would never be fooled. You would never fall into temptation.
Wilton Lewis stood with his hands on his hips, studying the sanctuary wall, not trusting himself to speak. He wanted to spit, was thwarted by the fact that he was inside, and instead swallowed hard and said, “This is vile. Disgusting and vile.” He turned to his right and added, “I apologize, Reverend Cashmore. This does not represent the good people of Port William. You know that, I hope.”
Since Albert Einstein is considered the genius above all geniuses, he is often credited quotes he never said. (If Einstein said it, it must be true.) That includes the saying that insanity is defined as doing the same thing again and again and expecting to get a different result. Actually, it wasn't until the 1980's that he was first connected to that saying, but it doesn't matter who actually said it, because these three scriptures seem to validate the saying.
Seven years ago, our family moved from southern Virginia to northeast Wisconsin. As you might expect, spring comes later here. Fall comes earlier. And winter is a much different experience in northeast Wisconsin than it was in southern Virginia. The same temperatures that seemed bone-chilling in Virginia are good reason to leave the mufflers and mittens at home in Wisconsin. Of course, many of the retired folks in my congregation here take their cue from the geese and fly south for the winter each year.