Sunday, March 13, 2011
After Jesus was baptized, he was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written,'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! for it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'" Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. Matthew 4:1-11
We are human, made in the image of the divine, and yet, seduced by the devil far too often. We lust for things we cannot have. We are too curious for our own good. We push buttons we are warned not to. Even worse, we give into the temptation to judge others and act like God. Those who have hurt us we want to punish. We want to test God's love for us by putting ourselves in harm's way and thinking we are indestructible. And through it all, God love for us is beyond measure and forgiveness and freedom wait at every turn.
We begin Lent every year by hearing the story of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. Starving and thirsty after a long spiritual quest, the incarnation of evil comes to him and tempts him. Jesus resists. The story is told to us so that we know Jesus is truly human and truly divine - he faces temptation and over comes them all. We humans face temptation and over come some - never all as we are truly human loved by the divine.
Today, I ask God to help me live beyond temptation and to know I am completely human and completely dependent on God's love for me. It is only through Christ's love and sacrifice that I can live as a servant of God. God help us all to be more aware of our humanity and our dependence, so that we seek not to be divine and to judge, but to lean completely on the divine heart of God.