Leaning further into Luke

  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.’”  Luke 4:1-4

Yesterday, we heard the holy moment of Jesus’ baptism.  Drenched from his dip into the Jordan River, Jesus felt his soul come to life.  Then?  Then, he is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  Wait.  What?  That is like saying the football team won the Superbowl, instead of going to Disney, they went to the dentist for a root canal.  Feeling saturated and soaked by the sacred should make you soar; not make you sour.  Jesus should have gone on Oprah or built up his branding on social media platforms.  But right after a moment that changed his life with love, he experiences suffering.

There is a deep truth in this moment that reverberates in our own world.

You get that corner office you always wanted…and realize it takes away from family.

You get that new computer…and realize that it really didn’t magically change your life.

You fall in love…and then there is that fight over something you disagree about.

It isn’t either, or; Luke is telling us about the both/and of life.

I find it fascinating that the first temptation is around the most basic need – bread.  Food.  Something to sustain you and stop your stomach from grumbling grouchily.  Our basic need beyond water is for calories to keep our bodies going.  Parker Palmer contemporizes the temptations by saying this first one is to “be relevant”.  We want to feel needed and necessary.  We may dismiss someone saying, “Thank you,” with the reply, “It was nothing.”  But inside our soul glows and glistens when someone notices us.  Our ego likes to be notice and be able to meet another person’s need.  To be relevant…to say or do something that matters…to meet people where they are.  To be sure Jesus will end up meeting people where they are.  He will end up feeding five thousand with bread and fish.  He will end up offering a ritual of broken bread and a cup of wholeness.  But, he will do this not as a magic trick to impress but to offer the bread of life to our souls. 

It is my prayer for you today to be open to the One who claims you not for what you do but because of who you are.  May God’s presence be felt every time you taste water and eat bread knowing God’s grace and love.

Prayer: Open my eyes, O God, to You moving in my midst in beautifully ordinary ways. Amen.


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