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I got waylaid by a terrible flu for the last 7 days. And still my brain is not entirely online. I find it so interesting how the Lectionary seems to coincide with my own real-life events. Here I have been in a fog of weakness, reliant on help from others just to get through. And the Lectionary brings me this story.
In Luke’s account of the temptation of Christ, we see Christ refute the devil’s efforts at getting him to “prove” himself. If you make bread from stones, you’ll show us all. If you worship me I’ll make them know your authority. If you jump off the temple room, the angels will be forced to carry you, and everyone will know you’re the real deal.
Isn’t this what we are always feeling like we have to do as humans? Prove ourselves? We feel like we have to prove that we’re strong, or invincible, or in control, or knowledgeable, or, at the very least NOT WEAK. I can tell you I have had not one shred of control over anything in the last week. Every plan canceled. Every intention thwarted. Every task put off.
And Jesus refuses the whole game. He goes willingly to the physical weakness of hunger and deprivation. He goes willingly to the vulnerability of harsh desert. He doesn’t retreat to a well-stocked fortress, but an empty wasteland of weakness.
I guess this is a lesson we learn from Lent: that weakness is strength. That proving ourselves is a game the ego plays, not the Christ-consciousness.
Oh God, we come to Lent to face ourselves:
Our desperate need to prove our worth,
Our hunger for reputation, wealth, and influence;
Our ego’s power over us…