Sunday, February 17, 2013

In the Wilderness

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread." Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone.'"

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, "To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus answered him, "It is written,

'Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.'"

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,

'He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,' and

'On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'"

Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. Luke 4:1-13

In The Wilderness

We can be tested to the breaking
on frozen rivers and city streets
in the depth of frozen winter nights
and in the deep warm of tropical waters.

Each has a wilderness a deep dark side
where our aches and mistakes swirl
the bitter taste of failure on our lips
sobbing like small children asking for release.

He became like us with throbbing needs
unfulfilled desires wanting tenderness
knowing the taste of jealousy and rage
humanity raw and uncontrolled.

He stood in our shoes and fought
for us and for all who follow
standing against the laughing evil
the selfish profane ugly greed.

Gentleness and forgiveness substituted
the weapons of love wielded against hate
compassion excising the world of lavish waste
and God making even the frozen cliff safe.

We each stand alone in our temptation
we think no one can survive what we face
we are held from the precipice by warm arms
and carried through the deep on the wings of love.

The Collect

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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