Mt. 4


         Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness
         to be tempted by the devil.
         He fasted forty days and forty nights,
         and afterwards he was famished.
         The tempter came and said to him,
         “If you are the Son of God, command these stones
         to become loaves of bread.”
         But he answered, “It is written,
         ‘One does not live by bread alone,
         but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
                           —Matthew 4. 1-4

God, I confess
I want to turn these stones to bread.
I want to turn this prayer into piety,
this day, this life, into something else.
I want the power to make something
what it is not.

I will let the stone be a stone
and this moment be what it is,
and hunger hunger.
I let go of the illusion
of power to unmake what is
into what I wish.

Without judgment or willfulness
I will let each stone be its stone,
and most: myself what I am,
for only thus, not as I wish or fear,
but truly, do I know you as you are,
loving beyond my desire or imagination.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light


         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.