Dust


         Then the devil took him to the holy city
         and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him,
         “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down;
         for it is written, ‘God will command the angels concerning you,’
         and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
         so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
         Jesus said to him, “Again it is written,
         ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

                           —Matthew 4.5-7

We want to survive.
Our ego craves security—
that what we think of as our “self” endures,
safe and free and whole in itself.
Pain and suffering press against that craving;
we don't like them.
Mortality assaults our security; we fear and fight it.
We wish to be able to escape harm
(our superheroes can do it).
We're afraid the world's treatment of us,
our suffering and pleasure,
is a measure of our deserving.
Wrapped in our ego-cocoon,
we equate comfort with security
and security with being an enduring self.
But we are not separate from God.
God is our only security.
We do not endure separate from God.
We are just dirt rearranged—
except for God's Spirit in us.
So rather than try to preserve the dirt
we choose to live by the Spirit.
Today someone will smear mud on our face
and tell us we are dust,
and to dust we shall return, no escape.
But we are forgiven,
set free from the lie of “deserving,”
free from needing to escape,
free to live by the power of the Spirit alone.