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Songs in the desert

by davesandel on February 21st, 2021

Sunday, February 21, 2021                 (today’s lectionary)

First Sunday of Lent

Songs in the desert

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.

O my Father, this is not what I expected. John’s words, the dove, your touch in the water all felt right and good, and my skin got goosebumps, so ready am I for you to use me. But now there is no one, and I feel no permission to return to the world of men and women. There is nothing here for me, is there?

But still, when I do not eat, I feel full. When I do not speak, I feel heard. When I do NOT walk toward Jerusalem, I feel led.

Teach me your paths, O Lord. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.

The rocks become boulders. There is no water along the path. I look for shade but the sun beats down. Sweat pours off my face, and my clothes stick to my skin. But there’s no hurry. I have set my face like flint, and my body becomes a crucible for the molten word of my Father. Still I seek no food. I hear voices, and I know it’s the various sibilancies of Satan, whispering at me, calling me to turn and listen. Don’t you want something to eat?

How do I know it’s the devil? God surely must have told me. This power in me to turn away isn’t mine alone. God has made me a “we.” His words are becoming mine. My heart beats strong and fast.

One does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

My family has been celebrating Passover all its life. Every year of every generation before me, we have asked the Family Questions, we ate the bitter herbs, always we have known that our Redeemer lives. I believe the promises of my Father. My parents have held me in their calming, peaceful arms ever since my simple birth. Mom has told me about her angel, and Dad too had stories to share with me. I am so thirsty, but I think of their stories now.

There will never be another flood to devastate the earth, and this is the sign I am giving for every age to come: I set my bow in the clouds. When I see the rainbow I will recall the covenant I have made.

O Lord, please, don’t let the rain come down. My roof’s got a hole in it, and I might drown. Mama sang to me, all kinds of songs when I was growing up. She sang about the sun and the rain, and the apple seed. She sang about Anna and Simeon and their prophecies over me. She sang about Moses and his sister and the parting of the Red Sea. The Spirit danced when Mama sang.

I remember her songs, and I’m singing them now. Here is the Spirit, come to dance with me. The devil withdraws again, he won’t touch me when the Spirit is dancing. He won’t say a word. I think I’m on to something here. Come on Lord, let’s sing. Light the Christmas tree. Come right now, my Spirit. Dance with me.

Beloved, Christ suffered for sins once that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.

(Genesis 9, Psalm 25, 1 Peter 3, Matthew 4, Mark 1)

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