March 9, 2014
First Sunday in Lent: Basic Needs
Then the Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness so that the devil might tempt him. After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights, he was starving. The tempter came to him and said, “Since you are God’s Son, command these stones to become bread.” Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.” After that the devil brought him into the holy city and stood him at the highest point of the temple. He said to him, “Since you are God’s Son, throw yourself down; for it is written, I will command my angels concerning you, and they will take you up in their hands so that you won’t hit your foot on a stone.” Jesus replied, “Again it’s written, Don’t test the Lord your God.” Then the devil brought him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He said, “I’ll give you all these if you bow down and worship me.” Jesus responded, “Go away, Satan, because it’s written, You will worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” The devil left him, and angels came and took care of him. - Matthew 4:1-11, Common English Bible
Most of us probably can’t imagine what it feels like to resist being offered bread by the devil after a 40-day fast, or to be held over the edge of the Empire State Building. We likely could not understand the temptation of being offered all the power in the world. But perhaps there are those temptations that we deal with, maybe even daily, that we do understand: the temptation to fulfill our own desires before the needs of others, allowing pride to get in the way of forgiveness, the need to project the perfect image of ourselves before others, the belief that, If it doesn’t affect me, why should I care?
Temptations we deal with today are just as difficult to deal with as those that Jesus was faced with. And are maybe even harder to resist, because they are sometimes faceless and nameless. We give in to temptation when we make judgments about the choices others make without understanding their situations. When we compare ourselves to the lives of our friends on Facebook and we feel like what we have isn’t enough. When we justify that those little comments or decisions we make that hurt others are ok, because no one will know.
As we journey through this Lenten season together, may we find the courage to face those temptations and fears, name them, understand them, and seek to mend and ask forgiveness for them, so that we might be freed from the fears and insecurities that rule us.
What are those basic needs that we overlook because we are so concerned with chasing after what everyone else has?
Share with us through word, photo or video by posting on social media, what it is you discover in your community, your neighborhood, your place of worship, school or work.